Get to Know The Focus Group: Director of Digital Strategy, Thomas Broadus
A highly regarded public speaker on social media and digital media marketing and technologies, Thomas Broadus has been a featured speaker for the Mississippi Economic Development Council, the Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Jackson Attractions Association, the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi, Southern Public Relations Federation, PRAM chapters all across Mississippi and he’s been a featured panelist at SXSW.
While working with The Focus Group, Thomas has created and implemented award-winning digital advertising and social media strategies for the Mississippi Gulf Seafood Trail, American Shrimp Processors Association and many, many more.
Some of his recent and ongoing campaigns and clients include:
- Harrison County Utility Authority
- Biloxi-Gulfport International Airport
- Wild American Shrimp
- Billy Hewes Insurance
- The Peoples Bank
Thomas uses his knowledge to take advantage of all the tools available to companies through digital media. He has the mind set of a futurist which makes him capable to adapt to upcoming trends and keep our clients on the forefront of the digital revolution. He’s also an expert at identifying and capitalizing on analytics and uses the insight gained from those analytics to help companies identify new user bases that are ready to engage, purchase and evangelize their message.
Before joining The Focus Group, Thomas was a member of the Mississippi Public Broadcasting public relations and communications department where he implemented initiatives across mpbonline.org that resulted in significant traffic gains and exponentially grew MPB’s online brand. Thomas accomplished this by being adept with current and emerging social platforms including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and early on, even MySpace. From 2011 to 2012, Thomas hosted a weekly radio segment on MPB’s statewide network titled “Everyday Technology,” where every Monday he would discuss technology’s latest trends and breaking news on air with MPB Radio host Kevin Farrell.
Thomas earned his Master of Arts in Mass Communications at The University of Southern Mississippi. His thesis, The Viral Fingerprint: A Content Analysis Of Popular Viral Advertisements was presented at the 2012 Southern States Communication Association’s annual meeting in San Antonio.
Thomas was elected chair of the prestigious PBS Station Advisory Council in 2012, and was on the Mobile Working Group that helped inform the PBS mobile strategy across PBS Kids, PBS national productions and the PBS iPad and iPhone apps.
Creating a fun campaign around fresh Gulf seafood was an experience we’ll never forget. Bringing the fun and excitement of seafood to new audiences was certainly a highlight campaign that showed the creative side of one of our best natural resources – Mississippi Seafood.
Working for the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association, we worked with restaurants all across the Mississippi Gulf Coast to bring fun events and interaction to our online audience.
1. #seafoodselfie – we implemented the hashtag encouraging guests to use the hashtag whenever they visited a participating restaurant so the users could be entered into contests for giftcards, tshirts or free food. We saw lots of fun across Twitter, Facebook and especially Instagram as Coastal visitors shared multiple posts of their best seafoodselfie.
2. First Try- ever been at a table and share in someone’s first time eating a raw oyster? Or peeling their first shrimp? What about their first soft shell blue crab poboy? This experience was all about capturing that moment in a big way. This is where we would utilize a mixed digital/traditional marketing approach with digital billboards. If you had a first taste experience, we could have your picture on a billboard nearest the restaurant you were at, before you left the restaurant!
3. Featured Dish – this was all about promoting the restaurant, the food and the chef. Sharing great food with others is something our targeted audiences responded to with enthusiasm. It didn’t hurt to post these just before lunch and dinner time, just to show folks what they may be missing out on.
4. Gift Cards & Tshirts – people love free stuff, and we love giving away free stuff, especially when it encourages guests on the seafood trail to try a new restaurant or order an extra round of oysters on the half shell. We held a mix of online contests and crashed a few tables thanking guests for choosing gulf seafood by giving them $25 gift cards they could use on their next visit.
All these efforts combined from creative to design to social made the Mississippi Gulf Seafood Trail a truly unique tourism destination! In only its second year the trail was named one of the best food trails in the US by the USA Today 10Best.