Quantcast
social media

How to Retain Customers through Building Community

Every Sunday I read the newspaper I learn about the community and something I want to blog about. I rarely actually blog though. Life moves on and I forget with all of the other things I do.

Today I read in the Salt Lake Tribune, about a project that is headed by a Utah woman I know, Crystal Young-Otterstrom. Her job is an audience development specialist (which is kind of like what I do with social media, right?) with the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera and she is amazing at it. I’ve seen her work mostly from a distance for many years.

I don’t usually write about the arts, but I love them. My husband and I volunteer at the Symphony at Deer Valley every summer since we’ve been married, with me taking time off to watch our daughter. It’s a highlight of our summer.

First, Crystal started Vivace, a group for professionals that meets at local restaurants after concerts.  She is continually educating the group about music and developing loyal fans. Today I learned that she also founded Cadenza , a group for older men and women to go to dinner and attend the symphony together. They also get a discount on tickets. Both support local businesses and are building community.

If you’re new in town and don’t have a date or someone to go to the symphony or opera with, you might decide not to go. Same if you’re older and live alone or just don’t have friends who can go to these events with you. Crystal noticed that “every year we lose some subscribers because their partner or spouse died and they have no one to go with.” With these two groups they’re reaching two key audiences: people who have money for the arts, (professionals) and those who are retired. Vivace will be the future Candeza.

If your business mainly reaches an older crowd, think about how you can replace and retain your most devoted customers. You must continue to find ways to engage with your best customers or you risk becoming forgotten or shrinking. Religions must do this. Businesses must too.

Are you Building (2)

Building community is also brilliant marketing.  One of the most rewarding things I’ve done for my career is to build a Facebook group of Utah bloggers. With just over 800 members, we teach and learn from each other. We see each other at events. The loyalty and community have have been hugely beneficial and enabled me to do so much more than I could’ve without them.

Facebook groups of all types have really made my life better, sometimes acting as my newspaper and connecting me with people. I don’t complain about Facebook, because of all that Facebook does for my business and for me personally, without charging. It makes buying ads or working harder for reach worth it.

My friend Mariel at Or So She Says told me she recently started to reward community by randomly sending gift certificates to her readers who leave comments and who respond to her content. It has greatly increased the loyalty of her fans, who comment and otherwise participate enthusiastically even after winning.

Sometimes I miss the comments and community I used to have on this blog when I blogged regularly. After my blog got deleted and I lost so many comments and I lost momentum. At around that time I switched more from writing about business to learning and applying it.

Encouraging or facilitating a community around your product or service can pay off. Sharpie has done it so well. Who would guess that a pen company would be so sharp at community building? They are long-time favorites.

When people find a sense of belonging with you they are less likely to look elsewhere. It makes being a part of something meaningful. As marketers I feel we do our job best when we appeal to people’s emotions, or heart. Community brings that into a business. You should look for ways to bring it into yours.

What other examples have you seen of brands building a loyal community?

How can you add more community into your business or cause? 

What MARKETERS want for Christmas this year

What marketers want (1)I asked my marketing friends what they wanted for Christmas this year. I specified that it had to be something you could buy, not something like peace on earth (ahem, Joshua). It’s not too late (almost) to gift them some of these wishes!

When I was assembling this list I felt how much respect and friendship is in this group. There is my good friend Paul who started a lot of what I do, as well as some I don’t know as well and all in between. What great people! They are my friends who when I asked, responded. Isn’t that what social media is all about? When you do ask and there is trust, people respond.

Oh and I want a new blog design and an elliptical for Christmas.

Thank you so much to everyone who responded. Merry Christmas everyone and I hope you get your wishes!

ryan-avila Ryan Avila – marketing/personal training/photography.Websites: http://healthyryan.com & http://facesintheworld.comGoPro http://shop.gopro.com/hero4/hero4-silver/CHDHY-401.html
GoPro
scott Scott Cowley, Marketing Instructor at Arizona State University & Internet Marketer.Website: http://www.giftso.meFor Christmas, I want “Trendologytrendology
 Russ Russ Page, COO at an Interactive Agency (web, apps, digital marketing)
Website: www.fiftystudio.comWants: http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/mens-nano-puff-jacket?p=84211-0-COCRjacket
danrmorris Dan R. Morris, I help bloggers focus on what makes their blog successful.
Website: Blogging ConcentratedI want a more specialized camera:camera
michael Michael Jensen, Sr. Content Marketing Manager at BlendtecI’m not going to lie and this is not a shameless plug: http://www.blendtec.com/blenders/professional-800.I want the Pro 800 or Stealth so I can make smoothies for my kids in the morning without waking up my wife. Or looking at getting the new iPhone.blender
 adam Adam Riemer http://www.adamriemer.me and President of Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. I help small and large companies scale as well as bloggers and affiliate grow and succeed.An all inclusive trip to Rio for Carnival and then to relax in Mexico on a beach in Puerto Vallarta to recover.
 mitchell Mitchell Levy, Thought Leader Architect & Chief Aha Instigator.I’d like to see the Aha Amplifier get another 750 users, doubling the user base. The gift is awareness: could be advertising, could be being introduced to the “right” partner, open to ideas.
 michelle Michelle McCullough, I’m a speaker and marketing strategist, www.startupprincess.com and www.michelleontheair.comI want a new MacBook and an in-home video studio + a video intern that will edit all of my videos. A girl can dream, right?
 jesse Jesse Stay – Social Media Strategy and Advertising and Futurist. http://jessestay.com, http://staynalive.com I like anything LEGOs, or home automation devices like the Schlage Connect Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt or things they sell on SmartThings.com, or camera lenses for Canon DSLRs. Or, just anything off my Amazon wishlist: http://amzn.com/w/WNBKSU3QBQDU
 lee Lee Gientke I’m the managing partner of Webmix Marketing (www.webmixmarketing.com). We do online marketing for service businesses.Maybe a some credit at Fiverr or a Surface2 if it has to be marketing related.
 cheryl Cheryl Snapp Conner, www.snappconner.com, owner, PR agency.I’m buying the book Flow – and Cision. Wish I’d bought it a long time ago.
 Mat Mat Siltala I grow a pretty decent beard. Avalaunch Media is my company.I want a trip to Fiji, but there really is no link to that?
 Rachel Rachel Brenchley – Founder of http://modifyink.com/ a startup in the maker space. We deliver an online platform for art-customization. Select art, then change the colors and patterns of each element to match yourdécor or event. We are getting ready to launch custom party and card suites in the next few weeks.

What i really want for Christmas is a team bloggers to help me launch my new company. I’m looking for perfect-fit, dynamic and creative DIY, ART, PARTY and HOME DÉCOR bloggers to join my team! I’m more of the “brand” looking for marketing partners! Marketing is a big job!

 Barett Barett Christensen, Director of the Social Media Marketing Degree Program at LDS Business College.

Always looking for great adjunct…though I am good on those for christmas and this next winter semester. I would be excited if Santa left me a Garmin Vector Power Meter. Yeah, I know it has nothing to do with marketing, but it would be awesome to get one.

garmin

http://sites.garmin.com/en-US/vector/

 

 cory Cory Huff. I run theabundantartist.com, where I teach artists how to sell art.

I just signed a book deal, so I’d love a European writing retreat for Christmas. Also, I’d love someone to set up Infusionsoft for me.

 cary Cary Snowden, I develop online marketing platforms for business marketers.
http://steptap.com

All I want for Christmas is a Makerbot Replicator Mini so I can print a few of my ideas to test. http://store.makerbot.com/replicator-mini
I am currently looking through the cushions to see if I can help Santa justify the big ticket.

 Paul Wilson Paul Wilson Profession: Marketer/Owner/University Teacher
Websites: PinAlerts.com, BeautifulPearls.net, RPCO.com

I believe mastering the art of video should be on every marketer’s Christmas list. The raw emotional power that comes from video is not to be underestimated and can be an effective and persuasive marketing tool. I state this because my list is thousands of dollars of pure video equipment.Iwas asked by the university to think of marketing tools that will best benefit the students. IMHO video gadgetry that tells and enhances your business story is worth the investment.

MY SANTA LIST Ü

Panasonic GH4 Camera
- Panasonic dmw
-ms2 shotgun mic
- Field Recorder
- 2 Lavalier mics
- Tripod
- Camera Slider
- Camera rig, shoulder rig, follow focus
- Steadicam
- Wide Native Lens (12mm)
- Narrow Native Telephoto Lens
- GoPro HERO4 SILVER

DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter V2.0 Bundle with 3

-Axis Zenmuse H3-3D Gimbal for GoPro

Go Pro Accessory Kit 

 Joshua Joshua Steimle, CEO, MWI www.mwi.com

I want a 36 hour day, a creative director, another front end dev, a CRO expert, a few more SEOs, a few more content marketers, and world peace so we can get on with more marketing!

  Sterling Sterling R. Morris  Marketing,Intermountain Healthcare.

A page-turner on non-intuitive findings in my field.

 Joan Stewart I’m Joan Stewart, aka The Publicity Hound. I show small business owners how to promote their expertise and businesses using free publicity.

I want a simple video studio in my basement with a few decent backdrops so I can record more video for YouTube. I’ve tried creating this myself and just can’t make it work as well as I’d like. While we’re at it, how about a high school kid to edit all those videos I’d be cranking out?

There you have it. If you are a marketer with Christmas wishes, please add yours in the comments!

How to Make Money Blogging: An eBook Review

Thanks to food bloggers Pinch of Yum’s income reports I’ve become very interested in how to make money blogging. Their reports are one of my favorite things to read and I learn so much from each one. I’ve made money because of my blog but rarely on my blog directly. In September I started working at The Blogger Network and now I have ads on my site, which is a foundation for making money blogging.

I recently found Chelsea’s Messy Apron and her ebook, How I Made $40k My First Year Blogging. It’s become one of my favorites. I realize that both of my examples are from food bloggers, which means their content is skewed towards that niche, but I think any blogger could learn from them. First, I have to say that I respect anyone who can make that kind of cash from blogging in just one year. It’s very impressive!

how to make money blogging ebook

Advertising Income
$14k of her first year’s blog income was from ads. The great thing about ads is that is once you set them up you make money passively (esp. if someone else manages the adsfor you). I see a lot of blogs apply to join The Blogger Network and most are too small to meet our minimum pageviews of 90k. She reached that threshold in just 3 months and I have deep respect for that accomplishment. I don’t usually see a lot of detailed information about ads so I appreciated her straightforward explanations. She uses several different ad providers as well as networks that connect bloggers to sponsored post opportunities.

The Importance of Mindset
One of the foundations of success is mindset and Chelsea talks about how this. She had another blog that didn’t take off. She took what she learned about creating compelling content, headlines and images. It worked. I like how she started off with the intention of success and thinking like a business.

When I first started blogging, I immediately started with the mindset that people would be reading my blog. This mindset is very important. If you only think that your mom is going to read your blog, your content will reflect accordingly. ..I am a strong believer in the power of our thoughts. Right off the bat, it is important to imagine your blog being successful and your skills improving. .. If you think you won’t ever get followers (or make money, improve your photography, etc.) you are right—you won’t! On the other hand if you are positive and confident you will gain followers (or however you measure success), you will!

Investing in your Blog Pays Off
Another lesson that Chelsea learned is that you need to invest in your blog. She spent 40 hours a week on it as well as investing money into it. She regrets going DIY in her site design at first and you can see how she gradually realized that didn’t pay off.

If you are serious about making an income off of your blog, you are going to have to invest.”

One thing I would’ve included is investing in blog conferences but being a review of her first year, she may not have attended any. I know bloggers have brainstorming sessions and other free ways of learning from each other, but it’s not the same as attending a blogging conference. They are on a much larger scale than a group getting together to chat. That means they can bring the best speakers, accommodate a larger crowd (more potential partners), and bring brands on as sponsors. You get to look for people to collaborate with in your niche for future giveaways and projects. There’s nothing like getting a group together in person to plan. Face to face meeting can be so much more efficient. Attending a conference is also how you meet brands that you can work with. You can go direct and pitch your services and skill set. In other words, conferences represent OPPORTUNITY.

I really like how Chelsea divided her book into months so you could see the progress she made. You get to live the experience with her. She shares information about the hashtags she uses that are effective for her, the sites that bring her the most traffic, and the tools she uses in her business. There is a lot of information about photography including props, lighting, cameras and lenses.

Group Boards on Pinterest
In addition to a lot of spot on advice, she has short tutorials on everything from setting up a WordPress site to creating a cover image for Facebook and other social media sites. I particularly liked the walk through of Ahalogy for scheduling pins on Pinterest. She also included a section on group boards on Pinterest but not as much detail about how to find group boards to join. There are sites like PinGroupie that are directories to help you find group boards by topic.

Facebook Groups for Bloggers
While she did talk about a Facebook group she belongs to, Chelsea didn’t link to it or go into much more detail. As part of The Blogger Network you can join our private Facebook group and network with the some of the biggest names in blogging (esp. in the lifestyle niche). I’m the admin of Utah Bloggers on Facebook. There are so many opportunities and friendships that are a result of these kinds of groups! Before I go to a blogging conference I make sure to join their Facebook group if they have one.

After reading this book I realize I need to do more planning and goal setting. I want to check out her taxes spreadsheet. I really like how she shows you exactly how to do a giveaway with up to 15 people with the spreadsheets and sample emails you can use as an example of how it’s done. I’m inspired to look for more trending content to base my posts on. I know some just from Twitter and people I follow on Facebook but keeping up with what’s new but I could do even better at. However, I don’t envision my blog getting a lot bigger. I make more money other ways and it’s tough to keep up with posting. It’s not worth the investment to me any more. This blog has led to years of business, my book, and it helped build my reputation. Everything else is a bonus. I don’t miss the comments and interaction that I used to have because I’m in a different phase now. A lot of that interaction happens on Facebook and some on Twitter.

I really think this ebook is great for beginners and even more advanced bloggers alike. I wish I’d had it when I started blogging. Probably my biggest mistake of all was getting a WordPress hosted blog. You are at their mercy. My blog got deleted twice because of a link that was spammy (I still don’t know what link it was but I had no warning and no recourse). I lost a ton of traffic and never fully recovered when I switched my blog to self-hosted. I hope every new blogger learns to just pay for your domain and hosting from the start.

How I Made $40k My First Year Blogging: How to Start, Run and Monetize a Blog
Pages: 189 with full color pictures
Author: Chelsea Lords of Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Price $19.96

Have you read “How I Made $40k My First Year Blogging,” I’d love to hear what you think about it. What did you learn and was it the right level for you?

 

Bloggers: CyberMonday Special Includes 60+ Products for Just $27

All weekend after the fun, the food and spending time with weekend, I was on a mission. I stayed up all night one night because I just had to finish to be part of this.

Dan R Morris and Rachel Martin from Blogging Concentrated, along with top leaders in social media, podcasting, video and blogging have put together an incredible product stack for Cyber Monday! 

Blogging Concentrated Stack – 4 Days Only but Giveaway is Only Happening Today

Blogging Concentrated CyberMonday deal

My ebook, 13 Social Media Marketing Ideas that Rock! is part of the deal. I wrote over 30 pages with examples and graphics to give marketers simple yet effective ways to market on Facebook and other social media sites. This is the only way you can get this product.

ebook: 13 Christmas Social Media Marketing Ideas That Rock!

There are 60 social media marketing products in all, including:

A guide from Derral Eves who made the Piano Guys famous on YouTube, to teach you Video Marketing. If you’re from Utah like I am, you have seen their incredible videos and heard about these YouTube superstars!

How about the #1 Podcast on the planet?  John Lee Dumas is going to help you become a Podcaster
The guy Entrepreneur Magazine tapped to write their Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn: Ted Prodromou.
Super Affiliate Lynn Terry, an 18 year veteran and Super Affiliate will show you what Social Media Marketing is all about.

 Want to get better at Facebook? How about learning what Holly Homer on how she went from 50,000 fans to 1,000,000 in a year, without spending a cent on ads.
There are also products from Joel Comm, Leslie Samuel, Kelly McCausey, Nicole Dean, Missy Ward, and Tiffany North.

In addition, there are 4 specials TODAY ONLY Cyber Monday, including a giveaway where you could win:

  • 10 Tickets to the Type A Parent Parent Networking Conference
  • 15 Tickets to Affiliate Summit: the largest affiliate conference in the world.
  • Mike Schultz and Anthony Xiques of iMartisan are giving 5 people: 3 hours of tech time with professional IT dudes.
  • Blogging Concentrated is giving away 10 Tickets to use toward any of their international one-day blogging workshops. I highly recommend them! I went in Phoenix and was blown away. Basically it’s advanced training in thinking like a CEO to grow your blog.

But those are only until Cyber Monday ends, then they will randomly draw from the list at the end of the day to award those.

See the FULL LIST of what you’ll get in the Blogging Concentrated Stack.

You really can’t go wrong with this product. I can’t wait to dive into it myself! I’m sure that even one product would be worth the $27. Please let me know if you got it and your opinion – I’d love to hear from you!

 

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

When Curiosity Kills the Brand

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.

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!

Utah Marketing Campaign Mixes Ice Cream with 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

 

Provo City’s Epic Marketing of Google Fiber

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…