Social Media Campaigns That Gave Us All the Feels

“I shut down my Facebook account” or “I don’t think social media is a healthy way to spend time”. We’ve heard a lot of this over the past year. In fact, I'll admit - I've even said something like this over the past year. Have you? Well, we're not alone in thinking the latter. Even a recent Facebook study suggested that Facebook use can be bad for you. A lot of negativity can be produced using these technologies, and sometimes it’s easy to feel like social media is just plain bad.

While it's sometimes easier to believe the negative and overlook the positive, I thought I’d add a tiny bit of positivity to the world wide web and give a little credit to social media in helping produce some good in the world. A simple Google search will produce a ton of positive and heartwarming campaigns that were used to better the world, but here are just a few of my favorites:

Ellen DeGeneres #BeKindtoElephants Campaign

In November 2017, in response to President Trump reversing a policy put in place by then President Barack Obama that prohibited hunters from importing elephant trophies into the U.S. from Zimbabwe and Zambia, Ellen DeGeneres launched her #BeKindtoElephants campaign on social media. For every retweet of the hashtag on Twitter, a donation was made to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Not only did this campaign produce 230,000+ retweets, but it also drew in a $100,000 donation from Shutterfly, and the Trump administration put the decision to end the ban on elephant trophy imports on hold.

If you have not heard of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, it’s an amazing organization that saves orphaned elephants and other animals. You must check it out.

Colin’s Friends

Back in 2014, a Michigan mom created a Facebook page in order to get positive thoughts and birthday wishes for her disabled son who didn’t want to have a birthday party because he thought he didn’t have any friends. She had no clue how the people of the Internet would show up for her son. As of February 2018, Colin’s Friends has 1.8 millions friends.

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TOMS #WithoutShoes Campaign

The shoe company TOMS brand identity has always been synonymous with a positive social responsibility message. For every pair of TOMS purchased, the company donates a pair to a person in need. In 2015, the company ran its "One Day Without Shoes" campaign in order to raise awareness for children’s health and education issues, and to serve as a reminder that there are people who cannot afford these basic needs. For this campaign, TOMS asked participants to post a photo on Instagram of their bare feet using the hashtag #withoutshoes. For each unique photo posted, TOMS donated a new pair of shoes to a child in need.

The results were amazing: People in over 30 countries participated, resulting in nearly 300,000 children receiving a pair of TOMS shoes! The company also won a Shorty Award

As it grows, TOMS continues to expand its giving efforts. Check out how it's improving lives - One for One. 

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ALS #IceBucketChallenge Campaign

I’d be remiss if I did not mention, perhaps the largest positive social media campaign in recent years: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Over 17 million people worldwide participated in this campaign which aimed to raise awareness and money for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka ALS). TV hosts, celebrities, politicians, and everyday people participated in this challenge that prompted people to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads in the name of raising awareness for the disease.

The campaign went viral and raised more than $115 million for the ALS Association in order to fund research into new treatments for the disease. 

Whether these heartwarming social media campaigns supply you with inspiration for creating more positivity on the Internet with your next company campaign, or if you just need to see that a little positivity can actually come out of social media, I hope you enjoyed seeing a few memorable campaigns.

How’s Your Online Reputation?

In today’s age of social media and online presence, there isn’t a business that can’t be impacted by a customer review. It can take as little as a couple of hours for a bad customer experience to go viral and impact the bottom line.

Online reviews provide a kind of social proof to potential customers, and in some instances weigh more importantly than a personal recommendation. In a recent survey by BrightLocal, 87% of consumers valued an online review as much as a word of mouth by a friend, and 93% of customers used reviews to decide if a business was trustworthy or not. In other words, not paying attention to your online reviews could cost you the opportunity to build customers' trust in your business.

It isn’t just customers who pay attention to reviews, search engines are watching closely, too.  A positive customer review is considered a sign of whether a business is good or not, and will contribute toward a higher search ranking. For small businesses it can be very difficult to compete with sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, who have a higher authority ranking with Google and automatically rank higher in search results. However, businesses with better online reviews will show up before those with poor reviews, even if the search ranking of the websites is equal.

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Take Charge

Controlling what customers write is impossible, but you can manage your online reputation by registering on major review sites and monitor them proactively. Keep track of the reviews customers leave and respond to them when appropriate and in a timely manner. Remember that a negative review is another chance to offer outstanding customer service. Most review sites allow you to respond directly to the customer’s review, thus giving you an opportunity to apologize and amend the situation. In a best-case scenario you may even win back a loyal customer. Of course, you won’t be able to please every unhappy customer, but the way you handled the situation will be taken into account by others when they are making their decisions.

Online Reputation Management

Managing your business’ online reputation can be time consuming and it may be best to assign one team member to manage it. It’s important that your brand voice is brought forth in a consistent manner and that your responses are personalized to the review. Always use the customer’s name. Be sure to research the issue before you respond and get as many details as possible. No matter how negative the review may be, always thank the customer for taking the time to bring their concerns to your attention. Finally, apologize to the customer for the poor experience and highlight the changes you have made or intend to make.

Encourage Positive Feedback

Customers are more likely to write a review after a bad experience which means you will have to encourage positive feedback. If a customer has a good experience, let them know how much you would appreciate their positive feedback. To make the process easier for the customer, include links to your review sites in follow-up emails, on your website or make it a part of the ‘check-out’ process at the point of sale. Make sure you respond to positive reviews as well as negative reviews. Let the customer know how much you appreciate their feedback and that they had a good experience. This will encourage others to leave positive reviews, which in return will improve your reputation and your search ranking.

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Keep in mind that while monitoring online reviews can be a challenging endeavor, the positive side is that we now have infinitely more feedback on our businesses than ever before, and that should be a good thing (trolls not withstanding).  Good luck with your online reputation and feel free to give us a call if you would like us to give you a hand.

Prep for SXSW Like a Pro

So you’ve secured a badge to SXSW… now what? Planning a trip to the festival that covers interactive media, film, and music can be exciting and quite overwhelming. Here are a few tips and tricks to help ensure your time is well spent in Austin, Texas.

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Manage Your Schedule:

This is one of the most important facets of SXSW. There are hundreds of sessions, keynotes, film screenings, music performances, and events to navigate in such a short amount of time. Putting together a schedule of what you want to see at what time can suddenly take you back to your college days and scheduling your first semester of classes.

  • Prioritize what is important to you. Find events that fall under your badge type to get you started. For example, if you’re a social media enthusiast, try looking for sessions lead by Facebook, Instagram, brands you follow, etc. Favorite some of these events on sxsw.com or create a separate spreadsheet so you can keep track of event dates, times, and venues. Always keep track of venues so you know exactly where you’re going in case of a time crunch. You will also notice when looking at the event or session that it is categorized by badge type. If you’re looking at a Music Badge event and have an Interactive Badge, know that people with a Music Badge get in first, then Interactive will take any left over seats.
  • Find some events you want to personally attend. You’re most likely attending for business purposes, but if one of your mentors is giving a keynote, try your best to be in attendance. SXSW is incredibly unique in the fact that you can literally attend a session about how to grow your Instagram account, then see Mark Cuban give a speech on small business a couple hours later. (If you plan to attend a featured speaker's session, arrive EARLY -- like a couple hours in advance if you’re set on seeing him/her. Chances are when it’s a huge name, thousands of people plan on attending, too.)
  • Give yourself time to breathe. While there are SO many events and sessions to choose from, give yourself time to take in the main event. One of the coolest things about SXSW is the amount of stuff ALWAYS happening. While on your way to the next event on your schedule, you may miss a tent showcasing the newest technology for your industry or an awesome band you’ve never heard of. You’ll also want time to check in on your email, fulfill any client/work obligations you may have outside of SXSW, etc.
  • NETWORK! Take advantage of being at an event where you are literally surrounded by thousands of people in your industry. Chances are, you’ll have something in common with the person next to you in line at the food truck or in the lobby before a session. Be bold and strike up conversation. While people have their own agenda at SXSW, almost everyone is up for networking. If nothing else, it’s always nice to meet someone to discuss the topics at hand of the next event you’re attending. Always have your business card handy.
  • Download the SXSW GO app. This is your mobile guide to SXSW and how you find out about venue changes, read about upcoming sessions, etc. This year, the app includes Event Status. You’ll be able to see if an event is already full, if you need to hurry because it’s filling up, or if there are plenty of seats. There’s nothing worse than running to an event and getting in line only to find out it’s already at capacity. This is a great update that I’m excited to use in 2018.
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Clothes You'll Need:

If you’re unfamiliar with Texas weather, it can change in a heartbeat. One day might be sunny and in the 80s and the next can be rainy, brutally cold, or both.

  • Extra socks. Austin is notorious for having torrential downpours in the middle of a warm day in March. Don’t get stuck navigating through the day in wet socks.
  • Pancho. For the same reason above, don’t get stuck in a storm with no way to keep dry.
  • Jacket. Bring a light jacket in case of dips in temperature, especially if you plan on being outdoors at night.
  • Layers. To prepare for temperature changes, it’s best to layer so you can adjust to warm or cold weather.
  • Comfortable shoes. There is a TON of walking involved at SXSW. Dress for comfort on days your schedule is busy. No doubt that you will want to be presentable (you never know who you’ll meet) but remember that these can be LONG days.
Rainy day in Downtown Austin during SXSW

Rainy day in Downtown Austin during SXSW

Essentials to Bring:

Keep in mind how much you’ll be using your phone, cameras, tablet, etc. to document your days at SXSW. Also note weather changes, long hours, etc. when packing.

  • Extended battery. While you’ll find outlets in some of the venues or lobbies, just know that hundreds of other people will need a quick charge as well. I recommend charging your electronics overnight and bringing a charged extended battery for the day. You can also bring cords to charge your device if you find a plug available, but I wouldn’t count on it.
  • Physical copy of your schedule. You may wonder what the heck I’m talking about, but when hundreds or thousands of people are in one area using local Wi-Fi, data networks, and cell towers, speed can slow down tremendously. I found it helpful to have a printed copy of my schedule, so I could see where I wanted to be without using cell service or my device’s battery.
  • Notepad. Just in case a device fails you and you must resort to old school note taking.
  • Water bottle. When running around Austin, you’ll definitely want to stay hydrated.
  • Advil. Long nights, early mornings, and busy days in between can give anyone a headache. Add in a few margaritas and you’re almost guaranteed a headache. Bring a pain reliever to stay ahead of the game.
  • Sunscreen. If you plan on being outside at music tents or running from venue to venue, it’s always good to be prepared, especially if your skin tends to burn easily.
  • Snacks. If you plan on staying busy through the lunch hour, keep a few munchies in your bag in case you get hungry.
  • Cash. Lines to food trucks, for drinks, and everything in between can be long. Have cash so you can pay and get out quickly. It’s also handy for leaving tips at free events.

Random Tips:

  • Always say yes to tacos. In Austin, tacos are plentiful. Whether they come from a food truck or from a vendor at an event, you’ll want to try a taco at some point. They’re a food group in this city and for a reason. 
  • Drink Topo Chico. It’s a carbonated water and Austinites swear it’s a hangover cure. Give a try.
  • Taste Texas barbecue. If you’re a barbecue fan, you gotta give Austin’s a try. It’s famous for a reason.
  • Visit The Driskill. The Driskill is a gorgeous, historic hotel located conveniently on Brazos Street between 6th and 7th Street. The Driskill Bar is constantly voted The Best Bar in Austin. Their 1886 Cafe & Bakery is known for their Texas-sized Cinnamon Rolls, Honey Glazed Fried Chicken, and a great place to stop and get coffee.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to commute. Traffic in Austin with no events can be a bear. Add in SXSW and it’s pure mayhem. Thankfully, Lyft and Uber are back in the city but you’ll still want to pad your schedule with some drive time.
  • Have fun. This is a unique event where you can learn SO much for your career and have a blast doing it.
  • Follow unofficial SXSW accounts on Twitter. If you follow some unofficial peeps on Twitter, you may find out about under the radar shows by big acts. In years past, Drake, Beastie Boys, Garth Brooks, and others have all played unannounced. An account that I follow is @SXSWMF.
Topo Chico & Cinnamon Rolls at 1886 Cafe & Bakery at The Driskill Hotel - Barbecue from Stiles Switch BBQ

Topo Chico & Cinnamon Rolls at 1886 Cafe & Bakery at The Driskill Hotel - Barbecue from Stiles Switch BBQ

Have additional pointers I left out? Feel free to share them with us! I look forward to seeing y’all in Austin!

4 Easy Ways to Promote a Business That Ain’t Even Open Yet

In a time when your social media clients want rapid-fire posts, live videos, and Instagram Stories of their bustling business, we have many ways of collecting content.

Unless the business isn’t even open yet. Then it gets tricky.

But good news: it’s not impossible. Just like fans love to see behind-the-scenes action on social media, they also love seeing a store or service as the team puts it together and the offerings begin to take shape.

Your client is the caterpillar, and you get to show your new fans what it’s like inside the cocoon. 

That’s what we found when taking a construction tour of Hyatt Regency Seattle, the beautifully designed tower in downtown Seattle which, when finished, will be the largest hotel in the Pacific Northwest. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Here are a few tips & tricks to help your next client during pre-opening:

1) TIME LAPSE:

One method is to bring your audience into the pure action that’s involved in building or opening a business, using time lapse photography. This GIF/video tool gives your fans and potential new fans the sense that exciting things are happening round the clock, just behind the veil of public view.

2) BEFORE AND AFTER:

Does your client have design drafts, mock-ups, or renderings, showing their internal team how it will all look when finished? If so, utilize them by taking in-progress photos that line up with the angle of the rendering.

Main lobby, seen in current construction phase and final rendering

Main lobby, seen in current construction phase and final rendering

This easy before-and-after look is likely to pique the interest of consumers who are anticipating the opening day.

Ballroom lobby, seen in current construction phase and final rendering

Ballroom lobby, seen in current construction phase and final rendering

3) PANORAMA:

So many moving pieces need to come together perfectly for a business to launch successfully. Similar to time lapse, these extra-wide photos offer your current and potential followers a playfully exaggerated feeling that the construction process is a BIG deal.

300-degree panorama of main ballroom

300-degree panorama of main ballroom

4) GIVE PROPS TO THE TEAM:

Many hands are laboring to make your client’s dream come true! You can cross-pollinate your audience with that of the design firm, construction team, vendor companies, and other partners who make light work out of the development process.

For Hyatt Regency Seattle, the stellar team at Sellen Construction deserves a huge round of applause! Sellen has a particularly fun and fascinating social presence - follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Have you followed along with a business on social media before it was even open? What did you enjoy about following along the pre-opening journey? Tweet us and let us know!