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NewspaperGirl – Online PR, Blogging, Social Media

Holiday Marketing Ideas: Instagram + Selfie Marketing

Selfie Christmas Marketing Ideas
Offerpop recently featured some holiday marketing ideas that almost any small business could do with a focus on Instagram. I love how Instagram is getting so much engagement and how you can use several hashtags without being spammy like it would be on Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook.

The first idea is to have your fans take photos of themselves (a selfie) with or using your product for a chance to win your product. To enter they post pictures on Instagram using contest hashtags that you specify. You should absolutely requie they use #selfie to capitalize on its popularity.

The great news is you can reuse the entries you get. You can feature the pictures on your other social media platforms, like tweet one a day, have an entry of the week on Facebook page and put the best ones or all of them on a Pinterest board.

This could work any time of the year but throw in some holiday touches and it’s a great way to engage with your community during the holidays.

If I were Nivea I’d include mistletoe and kissing. This zoo marketing campaign I wrote about could have visitors take Christmas photos with animals wearing or adding a Santa hat or with their own elf on a shelf.

The other idea are exclusive deals or offer codes that you promote on your social media accounts come from this list from OfferPop.

  • Aerosoles held a photo contest, inviting fans and customers to share photos of themselves in Aerosoles shoes for the chance to win a $500 shopping spree.
  • Keurig posted exclusive Cyber Monday deals to Facebook, specifying one-day offers.
  • Banana Republic asked fans and customers to take photos of themselves wearing Banana Republic clothing, hashtagging the photos #ThisIsGlam and #Selfie across Facebook and Instagram. Any photos using both hashtags were entered into a contest for a $500 shopping spree.

With these campaigns you are essentially crowdsourcing your advertising. It’s in your customer’s language and could even give you an idea for a future marketing campaign. KFC did this in the 70s in Japan. Thanks to the successful “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing campaign in 1974, Japan is now obsessed and people will wait hours to get their KFC dinner.

It started with customers who decided to buy KFC chicken for their Christmas dinner. Bang the idea was born. Whoever saw this opportunity and ran with it is my marketing hero.

When a group of foreigners couldn’t find turkey on Christmas day and opted for fried chicken instead, the company saw this as a prime commercial opportunity and launched its first Christmas meal…

KFC turned this into a full blown marketing campaign that’s still going and expanding today. There are waiting lists for KFC every Christmas. They have Christmas countdowns and promotions. My only frustration is I don’t speak Japanese and can’t follow the campaign every year. Last year they added KFC dinners on certain flights around the holidays.

I really love the idea of a tradition – when you find a Christmas marketing campaign that works, do it again next year. Pretty soon people will start to look forward to it and expect it, which means more participation with less promotion.

What are you doing for the holidays this year? I love case studies and am looking for data or guest posts about Christmas social media marketing campaigns

@Newspapergrl PR and Marketing Tweets of the Week 2014-10-21

How Marketing Experiments Can Hurt You

This morning I read a case study from Neil Patel on Quick Sprout: What Spending $57,000 on Instagram Taught Me. In a nutshell Neil bought an Instagram account with over 100,000 followers and then switched the brand to promote his brand. He lost a lot of followers but he kept a lot too.

We bought an existing lifestyle account that had roughly 131,000 followers and changed its name to @whoisneilpatel.

A social media consultant came up with the idea and Neil went for it. The paid sexy women with large followings on Instagram to give away big ticket item prizes in exchange for following Neil on Instagram. Classic marketing to men (GoDaddy is/was king of and Carl’s Jr. is giving it a shot). It didn’t go over well with everyone though.

Right away on the top of the post you can see the apology of sorts:

Instagram-marketing-Neil-Patel

When I checked, all the images except one have been removed and I’m not going to post it. The comments are telling. Men and women who know Neil’s brand and follow him saw the campaign and couldn’t believe it came from him. It didn’t fit what they expect from him and many were very turned off by it.

Example:

lost-business

First, I get it. As a PR person I recommend that people ride a wave rather than create one (especially since my followers are mostly small businesses). In other words, when something is being talked about or successful, see how you can leverage the attention or take part of the conversation if it fits your brand. In this case, Neil noted the success of Dan Bilzerian – a man who built a following of over 5 million Instagram followers by showing off his wealth (he reminds me of the Rich Jerk). The problem is that Dan’s style doesn’t work for Neil’s audience. While Neil might get some followers from this, it cost him more than money. It broke trust.

I used to blog a lot about the porn industry because they are pioneers in online marketing.  I stopped when I realized it attracted people who cared about the porn industry to my blog. It’s not an industry I want to be associated with or like, so I stopped. It doesn’t matter how interesting the tactics, it’s just not what I want to be part of my brand. So I talk about ideas or think about them but don’t reference the industry. Lesson learned.

On Facebook I’m part of a social media masterminds group. I usually want to ask how someone is doing something that is working well. Sometimes what they are doing is spammy or won’t work for my brand, but I’m so curious. I want to know if there’s a way to learn from what they are doing. Sometimes the effect is that instead of people deconstructing with me, as I hope, they call me out on the ethics of what I’m asking. Both sides are frustrated and I wonder if it’s bad for my brand to ask questions like that, even in a private forum.

When I first started in online marketing, I was a single mom with $217 a month child support. Having been a stay-at-home mom I needed to find a way to make money and spend time with my son. I was looking for answers and direction. I met a friend who was making a huge amount of money who offered to teach me what he was doing. First, I quickly realized what he was doing was way above my tech skills. Second, I realized what he was doing was working well but wasn’t sustainable or ethical. This was confirmed when I read an article in Wired Magazine that called him out by name as one of the top sploggers in the nation. Since then he’s gone on to do things that are more sustainable.

My point is: I love to experiment and learn. However, if I experiment with my own brand I have to be really careful not to risk my brand. That post I made on Facebook about an essential oil deal, didn’t work and it diluted my brand. It didn’t serve them. I never talk about health or essential oils so it was not congruent. I listened to a friend who really wanted me to do it. I’ve seen so many friends do so well on doTerra that I felt like I had to try. Mistake.

Nothing I’ve ever tried that was tricky in the slightest has ever paid off long term. It’s sad how many times I have had to learn this lesson. I’ve steered clear of partners who use methods that are unethical or who don’t fit my brand. I even try to avoid clients who don’t. I need to avoid anything that doesn’t fit my brand and the trust I’ve worked so many years to build.

Experimenting is powerful because you learn what works. It was brave of Neil to share what he did and how it went and to include numbers. I love it when bloggers share their income and lessons from their journey. I respect and love when someone is willing to be vulnerable and open up about what they’re doing. I learn so much from it.

The problem is, spammers and sleezy marketers are prevalent in our industry. You’ve got to stay far away from them or you risk being seen as one of them. Trust takes so long to build but can be gone so quickly. In this case Neil risked being hated by his loyal followers. If you’re not careful you can be perceived as one of the spammers. As marketers we know perception is everything. So here’s my advice to myself, Neil, and other marketers. Keep the curiosity — just don’t let it kill your brand.

@Newspapergrl PR and Marketing Tweets of the Week 2014-10-14

Fun Christmas Digital Marketing Campaign From a Zoo

Facebook-digital-marketing-campaign-zoo

Last Christmas, Turtle Back Zoo in New Jersey ran a highly successful Christmas digital marketing campaign on Facebook, called “Elf at the Zoo”. It played off the popular Elf on the Shelf phenomenon.

Here’s how it worked:

  • Each day Dec 1 – 24, the Elf on the Shelf appeared in different behind-the-scenes locations (usually with animals) in photos on the Facebook page.
  • They posts appeared each morning at 6am — early enough so that moms and dads who were just getting up might have a reminder to move their own elves before little ones awoke.
  • Parents enjoyed showing the posts to their children. Each photo had a fun, Christmasy headline that went with it. They were made into memes that were highly shareable.
  • They sent a press release to the media.Here’s an example of the playful nature of this campaign:
Christmas Facebook marketing campaign example

Example of one of the Facebook posts – incredible engagement! Click the photo to see it on Facebook

In the above photo, the Elf (Clarence – whom the Facebook audience named as another way the zoo engaged with their Facebook audience) is on the head of our Draft Horse, Dante, grabbing his ear. The headline “Oh what fun it is to ride!” is instantly recognizable, but now with a new meaning for the zoo. It’s also an instant smile-maker.

Want to see more? Here is photo 1, photo 2 and photo 3.

Since it was Winter there weren’t as many people visiting the zoo in person, but they could still visit online on the zoo’s Facebook page.

“The main goal of this was to connect with our fans at a time when they are not usually visiting the zoo. Many of our fans already have an “Elf on the Shelf” in their homes, so this added that recognition point. Plus, having the zookeepers all take photos of the elf was energizing from an internal morale-building perspective.”

This Christmas campaign sprinkled magic on the staff and on their Facebook fans. It also really engaged the fans: 38,040 users were engaged over 24 days! It also got attention from local bloggers, which was one of their goals.

In addition to being an award-winning campaign, and more importantly, Elf at the Zoo captured people’s hearts. The elf was photographed with so many different animals, that everyone was really able to see a glimpse of their favorites. Fans were tuning in every day, commenting, liking, and sharing our posts.

What more can you ask for from a Facebook campaign? Hope this inspires yours this year!

Thank you Denise Blasevick @AdvertGirl, and CEO of The S3 Agency for sharing this great campaign!

What I liked besides the heart behind this campaign, is that it was a series. People came back day after day, and it built suspense that increased engagement over the entire campaign.

If you have a Christmas marketing campaigns to share with me, I’d love to feature it. Please contact me or leave a comment!

Pinterest Marketing Tips for Growing your Email List

Pinterest-case-studies-western-theme
Marketers and business owners should take Pinterest seriously as a way to drive qualified email signups. Hold on to your cowboy hats and check out how these Western-themed retailers used Pinterest to grow their email lists using Pinterest.

My first example is from a small retailer and involves no outside budget. The other is from a retailer with a large budget who could use it to reach influencers on Pinterest.

CASE STUDY: Rustic Artistry a retailer of handcrafted furniture and home decor

I interviewed owner Carole Rains about how she has grown her Pinterest page for Pinnable Business, but how did her marketing affect her email list?

Her secret to getting email signups starts with creating vertical pins that have pictures of her products and a call to action in the middle. Example: this pin, “How to rock cowhide” generated 112 email signups. Carole used PicMonkey, a free graphic design tool (I use the professional level which is quite affordable and has more options), to create this image.

email-pinterest

 

Then in the pin description she puts a link to a landing page to sign up for her email list:

Pin-description

 

 

 

Here’s a screenshot of her landing page:

email-signup

Rustic Artistry has almost 800 followers on Pinterest. She has now generated 172 email signups.

Here are some examples of pins she has used:

 

CASE STUDY: Bourbon & Boots online fashion retailer

Online store Bourbon & Boots worked with Pinterest marketing firm HelloSociety for a campaign to drive email signups. They paid approximately $95,000 for 2 campaigns which involved paying tastemakers that have anywhere from 200,000-10 million followers to pin products. Pinners got paid a certain dollar amount per e-mail address they got for the retailer.

My favorite takeaway is how revenue was affected. Notice that the second campaign increased over 3x from the first campaign. It looks like the second campaign had a huge impact and so when testing, be sure to do more than one push.

Results:

  • In 6 days they got 30,000 e-mail addresses.
  • Site traffic from Pinterest increased 10-fold when these campaigns were running.
  • Revenue from Pinterest went up 305% during the first campaign and 1,300% in the next campaign, compared to the days just prior running them.
  • Revenue from Pinterest usually represents 10% of total sales.
  • The campaigns got a better ROI for them than paid search campaigns or targeted ads on Facebook.
  • Shoppers who come to the site directly from Pinterest are 20% more valuable, “because they tend to spend more and buy more frequently.”

One such influencer is Holly Ledingham who is one of the top 250 pinners on Pinterest.

Bourbon & Boots moved 75% of their Facebook ad spend to this campaign. It paid off. Here’s the full case study on Internet Retailerhttp://buff.ly/10jbxqM. Today the retailer has over 14,000 followers on Pinterest.

I interviewed Carole for the press release below, about how Pinterest helped her go from being a chef who worked long hours, to living her dream of owing her own business.

Facebook Contest Mixes Ice Cream and Guns

Facebook Contest Example

A Utah company that sells soft ice cream with mixins, is mixing in some politics with hot fudge and crushed Oreos.

Farr’s Fresh in South Ogden, Utah (about 5 mins. from my house), likes to do edgy marketing campaigns that feature guns.

Here’s their latest Facebook Contest:

It’s not the first time they’re marketed this way. There’s a day every year they encourage their customers to show support for gun rights. On that day, customers who bring in their concealed carry permits get a $1 discount. On the news story about this unusual marketing (especially by a franchisee), it’s quite popular. The story, from 2013, has over 3k likes on Facebook.

It’s an interesting tactic given that their brand is creating a happy place for people.

Farr ‘s Fresh Mission statement: Farr’s Fresh ® is your happy place and home for fresh serve premium ice cream,
frozen yogurt and custard. 

I don’t see anywhere about it being a place to exert your Second Amendment rights. I don’t know about you but happiness and rewarding people who carry a firearm aren’t a happy combination. In fact, this comment on Facebook expressed my sentiment precisely:

Facebook-comment-ice-cream

Obviously they are marketing to men, an interesting tactic for an ice cream shop. It looks like it’s working in one sense, it’s being share and talked about. If that’s their goal, they reached it.

It reminds me of another Utah business who has an edgy marketing campaign: A Utah Company Charges Liberals More for Smoothies from the I Love Drilling Juice and Smoothie Bar in Vernal. It looks like business is thriving. Yes, we Utahns love to add politics and religion to our marketing mix.

What do you think? Is this smart marketing?

The Science of Blog Design and Recommended WordPress Plugins

I have learned more about blogging this week than I have in years and I’m anxious to get some issues fixed and then launch a new look. For bloggers it’s Q4, the quarter that usually brings the most traffic and as a result, the most income. I wrote a post for The Blogger Network about plugins and other essential parts of optimizing your blog so you get the most benefit from the extra traffic. It also has plugin suggestions.

Today I added these WordPress plugins. 

Hello Bar – top bar across your blog to ask people to sign up for email updates or for short announcements. What I love most is that you can change it very easily at any time and it gives you stats on your conversion rates. Be sure to test the call to action and button text to see what works for your blog.

Sharebar – to add social media sharing buttons on the left side of every post. Ideally you have just three choices, but again, test.

Social Image Hover – this plugin will show social buttons when someone hovers over an image. Make sure that you open the zip file and install the plugin with the zip file inside of the main file (it’s called tc-social-hover.zip) Cost: $16

These suggestions came from Quick Sprout along with this handy infographic that explains what is shown to be the most effective blog design elements.

The Blueprint of an Optimal Blog Design
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

 

Free Press Release Leads to Media Coverage

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One of the most common questions I hear from clients is which press release service to use, including which free press release site is best. It seems every PR pro has their favorite newswire or site.

For me, it depends on your news (is it local or national), goals, budget and how timely your news is. In the past, I haven’t endorsed using a free press release service, but if you don’t have another choice I recommend PRLog.org. Here’s why:

  • They give you basic stats
  • Quick publishing (same day)
  • You can insert links
  • You can use an image and/or logo
  • You can delete or edit a press release after its live
The reason I don’t like PRLog or a lot of free press release sites, is because they typically only publish your news on their site.  They do not distribute it or republish it anywhere else. They simply run ads on the page to make money from your content. PRLog does have some online distribution though, though it’s limited unless you upgrade to a paid option. PRLog doesn’t look especially professional, I don’t think it’s changed in all the years I’ve known about them. However, using PRLog or another free press release service (such as PR.com), you can still get media coverage, if your story is strong and you’re lucky!

PRLog Press Release Case Study

Thank you to Camille at Power Image PR who shared her success story with me. Here is her press release:

Online Men’s Fashion Brand Celebrates Successful First Year. Notice that her press release is not much more than a solid story. It doesn’t have an image or any links, but it was still good enough to get press. It tells the startup story for Tie Society, an online service that rents ties. It doesn’t follow the traditional press release style, it’s written more like a feature story. There are no buzzwords about the company being innovative (everyone says that). It’s simple and straightforward.

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The press release went live on PRLog on November 15, 2012.  On November 22, one week later, Gigaom ran a story, called “Looking for Gift Ideas for Dad? Consider Tie Society, the Netflix for Ties.”

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Two months later, the company was featured on a TV segment for Brittney H Levine.

I thought it was interesting that the press release wasn’t trying to sell overtly but both the story on Gigaom and the TV show were very much selling the product (for them). There is no hype at all in the press release, it lists no prices, it just tells how Tie Society got started and how the service works. There are some trust elements too, as the press release names the brand name ties they carry.

This case study shows that even brands with a small budget can score big press if they have a strong story. Here’s another press release case study about a press release I wrote and distributed on a local press release service that I use for local stories. I also helped a local author get on the front page of the newspaper with a press release in this example.

Note: if you want wider distribution (especially for big stories that are timely) I recommend PR Newswire. I arranged a special offer for my readers, you get a free 1 year membership and they will give you a very valuable add-on service so you email your news to a media list at no additional charge. You just need to sign up using my link, a rep will contact you and help you choose the paid distribution model that fits your goals. More details here.

How the City of Provo Hyped the Google Fiber Announcement

I’m starting to notice a trend in content marketing and in my own marketing. I spend a lot of time on building solid content, but my ability to build up to the release of that content and continuing to market the content once it’s live, is lacking. So I began to look for examples of people who were good at the art of build up. That led me to remember the announcement that Provo City was the third city in the US to get Google Fiber and the epic way they built up suspense to the news.

viral hashtag

Provo city’s epic marketing – how a hashtag went viral

 

How did the city build so much anticipation for this announcement, in a way that was unlike any other city who got Fiber? I wanted to know. I requested an interview with Mayor Curtis, who is easier to book than most CEOs. It was featured on Forbes.com, by my friend Cheryl Connor. You can read it here: Power Marketing: How to Make a Hashtag Go Viral. The story that Mayor Curtis got kudos for his social media power on Forbes also picked up by local news station KSL. This type of press has got to make the Mayor look good but even more, it’s not an act. He’s involved and invested in being part of and showcasing the city. He is part of the social scene and activity of Provo both on and offline.

Even though I don’t live in Provo I started to see references to #ProvoEpicAnnouncement show up on Twitter and Facebook. At first I didn’t care, but as I saw it more, I became curious, and later I became hooked. People began to guess what the announcement was and the social media team played into it by sharing guesses and otherwise fueling speculation. I remember my anticipation as I listened to the press conference and followed the hashtag, and how I reloaded the page to see what everyone was saying. They had my full attention and curiosity. They broke through the clutter of my day. That says a lot.

John Curtis and his team are respected for their use of social media, but this news was a high point. Most of his success is from being actively engaged in, being transparent on, and planning for social media every single day. I believe this announcement took their marketing of future news to a higher level. From now on they don’t simply tell the city council or the public something, they market the announcement with teaser video, blog posts or clues. He told me when they announced a $1.1 million deal to keep mining out of Rock Canyon (yay) that they deliberately built up to the news. What was telling is that the press tweeted about it using the #ProvoEpicAnnouncement hashtagThe hashtag has become a way to describe any big news from Provo. I believe it elevated the city in everyone’s minds. Not only that, many people feel like they are friends with Curtis, we feel like we know and like him. That’s what social media can do.

I decided to apply what I learned from Curtis for an event that I’m hosting. Rather than just spring the news of the event on everyone, I decided to hype it a bit. I created an image that said, “something big is coming” and posted a teaser about the event on Facebook. I asked everyone to reserve the date and let them know that more details were coming soon. That got a lot of people talking.

A few weeks later I teased the announcement again, this time with a photo from my client’s business and a little more information. In that post I said, look for the announcement to go live tomorrow.  The next day I got so busy I almost forgot to post the invitation to the event. However, someone said she could hardly get any work done she was so excited. Many people were waiting for my announcement! I posted the invitation immediately. The hype was not made up though. I know this client will put on an incredible event. He understands and uses social media already. He’s also knows and uses the power of beautiful design in marketing. So I had the right materials. We got a recognized name as a sponsor. I’m genuinely excited for the event.  I don’t believe you can fake it, it’s got to be real.

What happened shocked me. As soon as I posted the event, I started to get RSVPs. Every minute there were more coming in. So I commented on the post letting everyone know that I was blown away by the response so far. I texted my client and emailed our sponsor to let them know that this was going to fill up. Signups kept coming in and the event was full by the end of the day. I was hoping for 30 people. I got over 100. The conversation with my client became how to keep the party going and how to expand everything. I loved that conversation (and so did he).

In my career, I managed to market a meeting so well that the whole office was buzzing about it. I became friends with the presenter (whom I’d never met) and we’re still friends today, years after that meeting.  It was memorable for years after. It created a friendship. That is the power of marketing. It can add life to everything. It can elevate. It can turn the mundane into epic.

Please share examples you’ve seen of brands or others build up events or content. I’ve done it, I want to get better at it still. I’m still learning…