We launched Young & Free South Carolina powered by South Carolina Federal Credit Union on February 2. Young & Free Alberta and Young & Free Texas have been very successful and are definitely two tough acts to follow. We went in with modest expectations given that the Charleston area is much smaller than Edmonton and Houston and our supporting media buy was smaller in South Carolina.
Well, the last 45 days has been an absolute blur of activity and we can hardly keep up with the action. Now that the application phase is officially closed, here are some highlights:
- 101 blog posts
- 27 applicants
- 42 extra activities by all applicants*
- 2,435 members of applicants' Facebook groups**
- 1,870 blog comments
- 16,251 visits
- 9,052 absolute unique visitors
To put this into perspective, here are the stats for the same categories from the first 45 days of Alberta's first year:
- 24 blog posts
- 11 applicants
- 2 extra activities by all applicants*
- 145 members of applicants' Facebook groups**
- 162 blog comments
- 9,420 visits
- 6,548 absolute unique visitors
And here are the Texas stats for the same period of time:
- 34 blog posts
- 11 applicants
- 9 extra activities by all applicants*
- 560 members of applicants' Facebook groups**
- 482 blog comments
- 8,970 visits
- 6,990 absolute unique visitors
In South Carolina, we have five applicants who have generated more than 100 comments on their application blog posts. Blog comments are not the be all end all, but they certainly give an indication of visitor engagement.
- Darrell Brace with 313
- Kelly Gaskins with 186
- Josh Sutherland with 173
- Kyle Whitcroft with 141
- Gloria Hiatt with 135
I never thought DeAndre' Upshaw's winning application in Texas with 218 comments would ever be topped.
Without disclosing all of the stats, account openings have been equally impressive in South Carolina.
What's the difference?
Our Alberta and Texas partners are both great and both are taking Young & Free very seriously as important strategic initiatives. The same can be said about our South Carolina partners.
Is there something in the South Carolina water? I think there are a few small things that have made the difference in South Carolina that we will take forward to future Young & Free Spokesperson searches.
- Partnering with a local radio station to take Young & Free on as their own promotion has been invaluable. Here is a link to just some of the segments that 95SX has dedicated to Young & Free SC.
- Having a public relations expert on staff at the credit union has proven to be very powerful and has better enabled us to take advantage of opportunities as they have come up.
- An aggressive sales culture has fired up an army of word-of-mouth advocates within the credit union.
- The MY Accounts product suite with online account opening has made for a very compelling offer.
- And perhaps the most significant difference is the current state of the economy. It has made the Y&F Spokesperson job offer even more desirable. It's sobering to see the young talent pool that is currently looking for work.
What thrills me the most is that the Young & Free recipe for success is now working extremely well in three different regions. On a personal note, I am getting so much more satisfaction perfecting and refining this one initiative than I have ever had producing one-time-use, three-month campaigns.
On Monday, March 23, we reveal the top three and open the public voting. I expect the action will really kick into high gear!
*Extra activities include addition videos, Facebook groups, personal blogs, Twitter accounts, 12-second videos, Flickr photostreams, podcasts among other things
**These are the total members from the Facebook groups that we know about – there are likely far more