How do you get Rick Mercer to attend your event when he’s declined invitations in years past?
You reach out through social media.
Each January, students from Queen’s University take over the House of Commons in Ottawa, Ont. for Queen’s Model Parliament. Prominent Canadians, usually politicos and journalists, are invited to take the speakers chair and moderate debate amongst the House’s new MPs. For years, QMP has attempted to woo Rick Mercer, television personality and host of the popular Rick Mercer Report. Each year, they have failed.
This year’s committee decided to take a different approach. They used social media.
They filmed a ‘rant’ in the style of Mercer’s own in a single take and posted it on YouTube. Then, students and committee members flooded the social media sphere with links to the video, including posts on Mercer’s Facebook wall, tweets to his Twitter account and even a private Facebook message. Within 45 minutes of receiving the message, Mercer responded. He was in.
The committee didn’t end their social media efforts there. To make Mercer’s appearance even more of a success, the delegates had to be kept in the dark. They initiated the use of a #MercerQMP hashtag on Facebook, asking delegates and friends to Tweet, imploring Mercer to attend. Mercer’s Facebook page continued to be flooded with messages from eager students.
Students not only got to experience Rick Mercer at the conference – they were also a featured segment on his program, which aired last night.
This goes to show you that anything is possible with social media. Congratulations to this year’s QMP Committee and special thanks to Andrew Lockhart, speakers coordinator, for giving me the inside scoop for this post!