ALS IceBucketChallenge Vector

Viral marketing is a home run for small businesses; while you may try to plan for such a campaign, it is merely the combination of the right pitch and excellent timing.

One of the largest viral marketing campaigns we have seen in 2014 is the #IceBucketChallenge. If you haven’t been on Twitter or Facebook in the last month (is that possible?), the premise of this campaign is for a person to donate a certain amount of money to a charity and dump a bucket of ice cold water (with ice still in it) over their head.

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Real-Time Marketing. Timely. Relevant. Viral.

These are all the words we would love associated with our social media campaigns, right? But as small businesses and agencies, we know that resources available to be spontaneous and make them a reality are limited.

And that in order to come close to reaching these adjectives, it involves a little bit of planning.

So with help from Unmetric, we’ve decided to share some not-so-common holidays, which are still very popular, that can help you “plan” for some timely, relevant, and just plain fun campaigns.

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Iron gate image

Well folks, it was fun while it lasted, but Facebook has decided to take down the like gates. Sources including indicate that starting in November, users can no longer be forced to like a page before seeing its content or entering a promotion. While the announcement may be painful to some, it shouldn’t be a surprise: like gates have been decreasing in popularity for some time now. So if you have been relying on them increase followers, it’s time to find a new strategy for social growth.

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1 star review screenshot

Every now and then a story of marketing management gone wrong surfaces on the web and you just have to ask yourself, ‘what were they thinking?’

One such facepalm-worthy strategy was recently highlighted on Moneybox, Slate’s business blog. The story details the recent customer review misadventures of Union Street Guest House, a hotel in New York that hosts weddings. Like many hotels (or any business, for that matter) they are subject to testimonials on various online review sites. Unlike other businesses, however, they are attempting to mitigate negative reviews with a very…unique…strategy.

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Monitoring - Heart Beat

The last time we talked about building your brand, we mentioned that designating a Social Community Manager at your business is essential for a successful social strategy. But what we didn’t tell you was that being a social community manager can be a lot of work.

Acting in this role myself, I can sympathize with all of you social managers out there. Not only do we need to keep track of our brand’s messaging across at least six different platforms, but we also need to keep up with the engagement and conversation happening around our brands.

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As you know, Pinterest has become the social network for day-dreaming, shopping, and most importantly inspiration. Therefore, it was no surprise when Pinterest came to the realization that vacation and travel were among the biggest topics they saw being created within their boards.

Welcome to your introduction to Pinterest Places or Place Pins.

Place Pins is a nifty feature added for the adventurous traveler (or crafty business owner) in November 2013. The feature allows Pinners to create boards with the ability to add a location and keep track of all the places they have traveled or plan to travel. It is as easy as editing your board to add a map.

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Everyone’s doing it. And when it comes to social media, you should be too. But as a newbie entrepreneur, your plate is already full. How do you navigate the online atmosphere to find out how to best use social media to market your business and which platforms make the most sense? While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, a few general guidelines will help you find your niche.

1. Start With the Most Popular Sites
The most popular social media websites include LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Account setup on each platform is simple, but you’ll need to customize content for each one. Be blunt about your expertise on LinkedIn and keep it professional. Facebook allows you to be less formal and more conversational. Here you can elicit consumer feedback with polls and giveaways, for example. Since tweets are limited to 140 characters, use Twitter to post links to articles on your blog or concise snippets of information about your company or product.

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Inspired by the recent National Dance Day on Saturday, July 26th, I have decided to reflect upon the social media habits one of my favorite reality shows, So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD).

Over the last 11 seasons, SYTYCD has accumulated quite a following on Twitter with well over 200,000 followers. Personally, I have enjoyed the integration of social and TV for this show. Each season, the show ensures every contestant has a Twitter handle, which allows users to get to know the contestants better; I can tweet about my favorite dances or dancers (with the potential of them tweeting back at me) and get a more engaging experience with the show. Years later, I still find myself following old contestants through their successes of reaching Broadway or seeing them as back-up dancers for a variety of artists.

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