Launching: AARP Studios

This has been a busy year at AARP Social, and now we’re shaking things up even more.

We all know the world of social media is colliding with the world of social video and completely changing our industry. Our success, every brand’s success, really, is dependent upon our ability to adapt to these changes quickly and recalibrate how we do business.

Take a look at our presentation above to get the full skinny, but the quick and dirty version is this: AARP will be combining our social media and broadcast teams to form a multidisciplinary team capable of creating and marketing kick ass content specifically for the people in our digital communities. See, we believe that the audience should be at the center of all that we do and our measure of success will be if they share the content we create for them.

The new team, AARP Studios, will be comprised of:

1, Director of Media & Communities
3, Community Strategists
3, Project Coordinators
1, Community Marking Senior Advisor
1, Development Director
1, Analytics Advisor
1, Managing Content Director
4, Multi-Media Producers

We’re asking kick ass candidates from any industry to apply. For full job descriptions and the online applications, visit  

Mini-Ads: Calendar Contest!

The AARP Foundation came up with an idea to run a Calendar Contest, encouraging users to share their photos of “Endless Opportunities,” reflecting how AARP members are living life to the fullest.

Here’s how Jen Martin (@iheartrocknroll) got to work.

So, here’s our situation: Calendar contest needs submissions but has a weak theme (“America the Beautiful” worked well last year; “Endless Opportunities” less so) and email marketing is down. 

Our Goal: Get more submissions to the calendar contest. 
The Creative We Need: 2 posts - one photo post with link to contest, one link photo post with call to action button (“Learn More”)
Money Spendin’: $1200

We ran these two posts one after the other with equal spends. They had two different objectives:

Post 1: Clicks to website (link photo post with call to action)

Post 2: Post engagement (photo post with link)

Post 1 reached more people more effectively and spent for clicks more economically, but CTR was low and the post had to reach more people to acquire clicks. Post 2 was set up for better shares - the image was particularly striking, and photography lovers were more likely to share it - and to click on the link. 

Here are the targets

  • Location: United States
  • Age: 40 and older
  • Interests: shutterbug photography, calendars, Digital photography, taking pictures, Shutter (photography), amateur photographers, Amateur Photographer, Travel photography or Photography
  • Behaviors: Photo uploaders, All mobile devices or Leisure travelers
  • on News Feed on desktop computers and mobile devices
  • Connected to AARP

Submissions were upped to 510 from 191, giving us a very good cost per conversion of $3.76!

For the next time, we might want to:

  • Run two campaigns concurrently if you’re going to have two different objectives - it might help you identify that Post 2 is overperforming Post 1.
  • Since you don’t have any seasonal content here, you can even do two-three versions of creative on both sides and run them the entire period of the campaign, letting Facebook pick the winning content within a given ad set. 
  • Think about how your audiences might contradict conventional wisdom. In this case, great photography (and its audience) are particularly biased toward sharing and engaging with the content, so while I’d never normally recommend post page engagement when your goal is driving clicks, ultimately Jen’s decision likely got this content to a more interested audience.

5 tips to help you conquer your email inbox

Here at #AARPSocial, we know that trying to conquer your inbox can be a Herculean task.

Since we don’t have this guy here to help us…


…we’ve pulled together 5 tips to help you get control of your inbox.

Have more? Let us know!

1) Unsubscribe from the clutter


Each and every time an email from a list comes in that you don’t want to get, unsubscribe from it. Don’t let it sit there, don’t wait until the end of the week to delete it. Right there, in the moment, unsubscribe from it.

2) Leverage outlook rules to flag priority emails, and deprioritize emails that aren’t urgent.

(clearly, this can work for gmail or other email systems as well!)


This is the best part - you make up the rules. Emails from your boss? Here’s how to set up a priority inbox. Morning round ups of news that are lower priority? Set a rule to mark them as read and remove them from your inbox - and then you can read them when you have a few free moments.

3) Use your email folders like twitter lists

The biggest problem with your inbox is that it’s frequently lots of different types of information - four projects you’re working on, HR issues, news about your brand, and more. 


Instead of flying past the disorganization, why not set up a system that makes it work for you?

By applying rules/filters based on sender, subject line, or more, you can have a folder for each project you work on - and use those like you use your twitter lists to get specific information on each topic.

4) Set up a long reads folder

So that while you’re doing this


you can also be catching up on studies, reports, and articles that otherwise would get lost in the shuffle. Bonus: It may actually motivate you to hit the gym!

5) Decide - is your inbox your to-do list?

For some of us, our inbox functions as our to-do list. If this is you, great! Just be sure to move each item out of your inbox as it’s done so you have a clear sense of what you have to do.

For others, this is a bad solution - something like Evernote works better. In this case, your goal may not be inbox zero, and that’s ok - just set up a system that works for you.

And remember..

Happy birthday to this Tumblr! The #AARPsocial team is in Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest Interactive festival. We hope to show you some of the discussions and tools on display during this huge event.

Happy birthday to this Tumblr! The #AARPsocial team is in Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest Interactive festival. We hope to show you some of the discussions and tools on display during this huge event.

#Winning at the Oscars!

The Oscars was a huge night for many talented actors, actresses, and other talented Hollywood players.

It was also a huge night for many brands, as you’ll see in this awesome round up by AdWeek:


Brands were bringing their A-game with this year’s Oscars. We can’t ignore that there were some pretty legendary moments on social media. It was a #winning night.

To see our name on AdWeek's list was really awesome. We were #winning too! We got super ecstatic when we saw our name right next to Chevrolet and Sprint, let alone near Samsung at all (that selfie…was legendary). And we couldn’t have done it with your support, so thank you. 

It was quite a big accomplishment for us and we’d love to relive it. Relive with us below:

First, we’ll start off with Digiday’s recap.




Thanks for the awesome shout out, Digiday! You hit the nail right on the head. :-)

And to wrap up our little roundup, here’s one of our favorite interactions from the night:


AARP en Español’s (Early) Holiday Gift


For AARP en Español, the holidays came a bit earlier - and it came in the form of 10,000 likes. We are SUPER. DUPER. Excited.


Jill Greenberg, the person that helped make it all happen, is super excited, too! Engaging posts and trendy content are part of the secret to success, but she decided to share some of her other tips that she’s gathered along the way. Might help if you’re out to reach and connect with your Hispanic audience! See below:

On behind-the-scenes action

Advertising. We got a commitment from business units to dedicate advertising dollars to our Spanish speaking audience and it made a big difference. We also had a small budget to boost pieces that were performing well organically, which also helped.

Team getting more engaged. We have seen editors getting more involved as they become authors on the AARP en Español blog and they are sharing content in their networks.

On content

Content creation. Our content creators have shifted the types of content they are developing. As I talked about earlier, we started a Spanish language blog to focus on more timely and newsy pieces and have seen engagement jump as a result of this type of content.


Video. We know that Latinos enjoy watching video online. Specifically, Nielsen says that Hispanic video viewers are 68% more likely than non-Hispanic White viewers to watch video on the Internet, and 20% more likely to watch video on their mobile phone. So we made sure we had video content like our Secretos de Cocina con Denisse, which focused on short, punchy videos that received a great response on our Facebook page.

Asking more questions, asking for interaction. We have seen our engagement jump 50% in the second half of the year by simply creating more interactive content that encourages our audience to habla con nosotros: talk to us.

News you can use. Earlier this year, an internal AARP research report found that Hispanics enjoy information that offers simple steps to healthy living and financial planning. Working from this idea, we promoted content that focused on those practical tips and news you can use.  Our health content in particular has been a highlight - we have seen a 69% increase in clicks in the second half of the year on our health content.

On demographics

Overall demographics. With the 50+ market becoming the fastest growing in social media, this applies to everyone regardless of ethnicity. Just because people want information in Spanish, it doesn’t make them much different than the overall audience. While you might need to tweak things here and there, it is probably true that there are more similarities than differences.


Understanding that our Twitter audience and Facebook audiences are very different. Our audience skews older on Facebook and younger on Twitter… this is not uncommon on the English language side either, but it is more pronounced on the Spanish side. It’s also important to realize that the Hispanic audience reach is much bigger on Facebook. According to Ad Age, you can reach 64% of the Hispanic population on Facebook, compared to a reach of 15% on Twitter. Tailoring content and phrasing has increased engagement overall.

Don’t forget to “Like” the AARP en Español Facebook Page while you’re at it! Happy Holidays!

Five Reasons Beth Carpenter Should Make Forbes #30Under30

1. That Time Beth Relentlessly Tweeted About Michael Jordan Turning 50 During the NBA All Star Game… And Ended Up Getting on National TV. Twice.


So, maybe Michael didn’t accept his AARP card at the game like we really, really wanted. Who cares? Beth’s tweets ended up being broadcast live during the game. And, was featured on Yahoo Sports and ESPN Sportscenter the next day. (Also known as, when social media becomes media relations…)

2. That Time She Tweeted Sir Mix-A-Lot About AARP Membership Using Baby Got Back Lyrics. And, He Replied. And, So. Did. She. In. Lyrics.


3. When Jeff Daniels Won An Emmy for Newsroom and She Was So Prepared for Awesome to Unleash.


I was sitting next to her when Jeff Daniels took the stage (we screamed), then he said, “The only award I’ve ever won was from AARP! And with all due respect to AARP, I’m moving the Golden Baralounger [Movies for Grownups] award over.” And, then we died. Came back to life one second later and Beth sent this. It was re-tweeted over 900 times - 63% above the average number of mentions during the 2013 Emmys.

4. She Launched a Facebook Campaign That Resulted in 29% More Interest in Our Brand 

The “AARP Real Possibilities” campaign is now a Facebook Ads case study and was a finalist in the 2013 Digiday Social Media Brand Campaign of the Year. But most importantly, it made more people over 45 interested in AARP - by targeting them with ads. And those ads were written in such a voice that those targeted didn’t even realize they were ads. That’s just AARP chatting on Facebook. As we do. 

A lot goes into chatting, crafting posts in the right voice for your audience, with the right compelling graphics, and tracking those results to share with the organization. 

5. No One Is Safe From Her 50th Birthday Fun. Not Even Time Traveling Brits.


And, finally….

Despite All Of Those Folks Who Thought It Was Me. Or a Hack. “We Miss You, Biggie” Was All Beth. Targeting Gen X. Which Start Turning 50 Next Year.



While AARP is hyper focused on the 50+, we on the social media team are hyper aware that over 20% of our social media audience is Gen X and that they start turning 50 in 2015. We’re betting that if you’ve been following us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for five years before your card arrives, you might be more likely to join. Stay tuned, AARP research is on it.

So, Forbes… it’s in your hands. But either way, it’s a win for me having someone as talented and creative on team #AARPsocial. 

Want More? Stay tuned and follow #AARPsocial and follow Beth Carpenter on Twitter, here:

image[Photo: Beth Carpenter, Tammy Gordon and Jen Martin at the 2013 Digiday Social Media Awards.]


"Both my kids will have graduated from college in 4.5 years, and I’m heading to Mexico. I’m not kidding. Social Security goes a long way down there. For $300 a week, I could have a place to stay, a satellite dish, a fishing pole, and some rum."


"Both my kids will have graduated from college in 4.5 years, and I’m heading to Mexico. I’m not kidding. Social Security goes a long way down there. For $300 a week, I could have a place to stay, a satellite dish, a fishing pole, and some rum."

Using Scavenger Hunts to Learn About Social Media

Seeking: Graphic Designer for Social Media

Us: Millions of members strong grassroots organization fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare, keep utility costs low for consumers, fight fraud and ID theft, make sure that the voices of the 50+ are heard in Congress, and more.

You: Social media savvy graphic designer who loves the daily news game, knows the 20% rule inside and out, changes their Facebook cover photo on the go, and can help tell the story of our advocacy work in a compelling, multimedia way.

Five things we can’t live without:

*Photography and video experience

*An awesome portfolio

*Bachelor’s degree and 3+ years of graphic design experience

*Ability to create Facebook cover photos, share graphics, and gifs from your phone, laptop, or even your parent’s old PC

*Social Media Presence (send us the links!)

You should message us if:

*You want to make a difference in the big battles around Social Security, Medicare, utilities, fraud, and more.

*You love using visuals and video on social media to influence policy decisions

*You’ve checked out @AARP and @AARPAdvocates and and think you can meet our tone while upping our game

Here’s how to submit your resume:

But feel free to drop us a line at with your portfolio or other supporting materials – we can’t wait to hear from you!