Two-Way Street

PR, social media, events and incentives – Collaboration & communication ideas for demanding businesses from The Castle Group's Mark O'Toole

Posts Tagged ‘viral’

Social Tuesday: old school/new school marketing mix

Posted by thecastlegroup on March 22, 2011

If you see a lot of kids wearing pink today it’s because of “Pink in School.” Pink in School is an anti-bullying initiative run through Facebook. On the initiative’s Facebook page, Pink in School encourages its fans to wear pink on Tuesday, March 22, and to upload a profile picture of them wearing pink or, better yet, the official Pink in School T-shirt to take a stand against bullying and to increase awareness of the issue.

The Pink in School T-shirts are free and provided by Shirts in School, a marketing services company that pays high school and college students to wear T-shirts imprinted with other companies’ messages. Shirts in School started and organizes the initiative as a non-profit version of its services. The concept of Shirts in School is simple and effective. Students sign up on Facebook to receive their free T-shirts; to get paid, they must wear them in school for at least one day. In addition to wearing the shirt, the students must post their photo wearing the shirt on Facebook and other social media outlets, as well as a link to or a post about the advertiser. This way, companies not only get publicity value, but can easily monitor reactions to a campaign based on the posts of the participants and the comments by their friends. The students get paid $ 10 a day and can keep the shirt. Their schools receive an additional $2 as an incentive to support the concept.

Shirts in School’s marketing method successfully combines traditional word of mouth marketing with social media efforts. After the first participants had signed up, the concept “went viral,” says president of Shirts in School Richard Whitney. Now, an average of about 200 students signs up every day. It’s a win-win situation: students get free clothing and Shirts in School gives advertisers access to a highly desirable but hard to reach target group of 14-to-21 year-olds.

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Social Tuesday: iPad, viral, Brightkite, Klout, Facebird

Posted by thecastlegroup on June 16, 2010

Yes, the iPad is cool and makes you the envy of all your laptop-using friends, but can you work on it as effectively as you would on a traditional laptop? Chris Brogan tests it out.

It seems that these days the ultimate goal of campaigns is to make everything, and we mean everything, “viral.” Like most popular terms, “viral” has been overused, and over time its definition has become skewed. So how do we define this term, and what type of creative is most likely to go viral? B.L. Ochman helps clear up confusion.

Your company likely uses a style guide to help ensure its marketing and other messaging are consistent with the brand. Be careful not to forget to extend these guidelines to your social media efforts as well.

A picture is worth a thousand words. If you often consult Yelp and other consumer review sites, you might be interested in Brightkite. With Brightkite, reviewers can add pictures and text to their tips to bring the item, location or service to life. Find out more.

Klout launches new Facebook app Facebird. Facebird’s goal is to help you understand the overlaps in influence between your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Interested? Check out a demo video.

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Social media GPS

Posted by thecastlegroup on September 8, 2009

Nobody wants to admit they don’t know how to participate in the social networking world. Yet we have conversations with seasoned executives (yes, some are in marketing) who admit that they don’t know how to engage. In some cases, their organizations have social media strategies, but they only use personally, do not feel strategic, and don’t know how to use social media as a professional tool. In other cases, they’re concerned about making a misstep, either personally or on behalf of the company, so they do nothing. And in most cases, it’s just plain unchartered territory. Let us be your sonar for a moment, and help those of you looking for a little guidance.

“Where do I start?” Just jump in. Make sure you’re on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Even if you don’t post anything at first, you’ll get a sense of the interaction that happens simply by observing. If you don’t know how to jump in, let your marketing or PR team jump in for you.

“Isn’t it just for connecting with people I’ve lost touch with?” We’ve found that those we counsel have a difficult time separating the social side of social media from the professional side. Facebook, for example, is great for connecting with old classmates or colleagues. But it’s also a platform to engage your prospects and customers. There’s no magic formula or a “right way.” Some can merge personal and professional seamlessly, others like or need more separation.

“How do I control what’s online?” Conversations are happening online with or without your participation. You can use social media to listen, learn and, ultimately, participate, so your corporate voice is represented within social networks. Done right, you can even drive the conversation.

“How do I reach the right audiences?” Just as with your marketing program, you must approach social media with a plan and goals. Audience identification is a critical first step. And that audience is out there, in large numbers of niche groups.

“How do I make something viral?” This request has almost replaced “I want to be on Oprah” as a marketing plea. The simple answer is, you can’t make something viral. What you can do is thoroughly prepare, cover all relevant avenues, develop great creative and share your content as meaningfully as possible. (Feel free to virally share this advice!)

“How do I measure the success?”We consider upticks in sales, inquiries or traffic effective barometers for measuring PR, events and social media activity. Social media also offers opportunity to measure friends, followers, fans, click throughs and more.

“OK, bottom line, what terminology do I need to know to hold my own in a social media conversation?” Ask us or visit Wikipedia to at least become familiar with the terms. Like texting, there’s a new language emerging in social media, from ‘re-tweet’ to ‘friending.’ The best way to be educated is to hang with the smart kids.

Social media is changing every day. What’s on our radar screen today may be less important a year – or even three months – from now, so it’s important to keep abreast of the changes, be strategic and constantly reevaluate your (business and professional) social media strategy. Many of our clients and business associates have had us in for tutorials that provide them with that much-needed comfort level. If you need more help, just ask us. We understand the reluctance to ask for direction. That’s why the GPS was invented.

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