Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Teen girls make Alex from Target an online sensation

Friday, November 7th, 2014

He’s a social media phenomenon with thousands of Twitter followers, almost all of them teen girls. He’s not in a boy band, and he doesn’t star in a Disney sitcom. He is Alex from Target.

And, unless you’ve been absent from social media this entire week, you know exactly who we’re talking about: the Target employee and Justin Bieber look-alike whose good looks prompted a young female admirer to snap his photo, which then went viral after it was shared via Twitter. Besotted teen girls quickly made the hashtag #alexfromtarget a nationwide trending topic on Tuesday, November 4, and within a few days, analytics revealed that more than 1.1 million people had tweeted about him.

Naturally, rumors swirled that this was all an elaborate marketing ploy engineered by the discount retail giant. Target quickly denied any involvement in or knowledge of the photo and its circulation on social media. And the young man at the center of it all – Alex Lee? His instant Internet fame has left him flummoxed. Since his identity has been discovered, his Twitter followers have ballooned from 2,000 to 600,000+, and just one day later he appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show to talk about his sudden rock-star status.

The lesson for brands? Don’t underestimate the power of teens on social media, especially teen girls. With plenty of free time, disposable income, and online proclivities that span the spectrum of social media – Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and YouTube—this segment can drive interest in products and brands in a way that other groups can’t.

Teens are early adopters, too. They eagerly wade into the social media sphere, connecting with each other as well as the brands that take them seriously and target them effectively. They are vocal in their likes and dislikes, sharing that information via online channels, which can result in the kind of rapid snowball effect (influence) that we saw with Alex from Target. So, brands, take note: some of your most viable and valuable marketing prospects are the teeny-boppers you pass in the mall. Ignore at your peril.

Get on the Game of Thrones Bandwagon

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

It’s been a long, cold winter, but Game of Thrones is finally back. We’ve blogged before about how great their use of social media has been, but now let’s take a look at how other people react to the show’s momentum. For one thing, Sunday’s season premiere crashed HBOGo, which left users feeling extremely unhappy. Take a look at Mashable for some of the funnier reactions. Our favorite is “Winter is…loading?” from Twitter user @marissachristy. HBOGo had similar problems in March with the season finale of True Detective, and they promised more support for the app, but to no avail.

Meanwhile, those who did get to watch the episode loved it, including other brands looking to capitalize on the show’s trending status. The tweets range from hilarious (Arrested Development) to ridiculous (Mentos), but they’re all interesting from a social media perspective. The main question to ask yourself when trying to jump on another brand’s bandwagon is this: is it going to make users smile, or is it going to make them groan? Click here to see who was successful and who wasn’t.

Finally, if you didn’t see the episode, or just want to relive it, here it is recapped in .gif format, perfect for Tumblr. But beware…spoilers abound.

Social Media Roundup: Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

Monday, March 24th, 2014

This past week had the usual run of viral videos featuring Beyonce and clever cats, but there was some interesting news as well. We’ll cover both the newsworthy and the purely viral in this week’s social media roundup!

YouTube may be looking into creating a kids-only site, says Mashable. The site already has safety features to protect younger viewers, but they’re not 100% foolproof. A kids-only site could be just what parents need, given the, er, adult popularity of some children’s shows, such as “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” It won’t erase the need for careful monitoring and safety features, but it’s a good start, if it comes to pass.

A very informative study done by Fox, Twitter, and the Advertising Research Foundation shed some light on the dynamics between Twitter and television consumption. Click over to Mashable to get the full details, but the long and short of it is that there is, in fact, a direct link between a show’s activity on Twitter and viewers’ actions, although not in the way you might expect. The study reveals that the most influential proponents a show can have are the on-air talent, whether it be an actor or a host of a reality show. That being said, the more active a show’s brand is on Twitter, the more likely viewers are to make an effort to watch the show, and the more likely they are to take action on advertisements, especially if they are closely tied into the show’s activities.

On the viral side of things, frequent flier Jimmy Fallon teamed up with Kevin Bacon to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Bacon’s dance classic, Footloose. Fallon announced that NBC had made dancing on “The Tonight Show” illegal, and that did not sit well with Bacon. What follows is a brilliantly choreographed homage to Footloose, proving that Bacon (and his dance double) has still got it. Click here to see the full video, and prepare for some serious 1980’s nostalgia.

Finally, just because we’re so excited for the return of “Game of Thrones” and because we like their social media efforts so much, check out some of the awesome fan art being sold on Etsy. The dragon egg necklace in particular is really hard to resist.

Get Excited! It’s Super Bowl Sunday!

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

This weekend is Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest day of the advertising year. To help you get excited, we’re going to do a roundup of the ads we’re most excited to see. Then, next week, we’ll take a look at which ads were actually the coolest and most effective.

Kia channels The Matrix:

Guinness inspires with an Olympic-themed disappearing ad:

Toyota turns to Terry Crews and the Muppets:

Budweiser tugs at the heart strings:

Squarespace brings the Internet to life:

In other Super Bowl news, Bud Light has bought most of the searches for Super Bowl ads:

And lastly, 61% of Internet users will share Super Bowl ads on social media:

Hit the comments and tell us your favorite!

Starting the New Year Off Right

Monday, January 13th, 2014

It has not been a good week for Google+, with nasty articles in both Mashable and ReadWriteWeb. Both sites are critical of Google’s increasing insistence on integrating the social network with its other services, such as YouTube comments. Criticisms include the lack of organic discussion and the fact that users can now email anyone with a Google+ account. The less control users have, the unhappier they become. This may account for why user numbers have grown, but engagement has not.

On a totally different note, Mashable was very complimentary about Google’s analytics advances in the last year, including demographics data and Google Tag Manager. Click the link for things we’d like to see in 2014.

And on an even MORE different note, during Sunday night’s Golden Globes broadcast, the Muppets launched what may be our favorite ad campaign of 2014 so far: a mock-Twitter fight deploring the lack of nominations for the Muppets. Check the link for video.

2013 Year in Review

Friday, December 27th, 2013

As 2013 winds down, let’s take a look at some of the best viral marketing and content of the year.

First, as you may have noticed, Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy character was everywhere this year, promoting Anchorman 2. The character did everything from auto ads to interviewing Broncos star Peyton Manning. Whether you love him or hate him, you can’t deny that the Burgundy campaign was effective.

Next, Century 21 created a fantastic campaign to sell Walter White’s Albuquerque home in the wake of Breaking Bad’s departure. They made a fake Craigslist ad and set up a phone line where a Century representative congratulates the user on their great taste.

Finally, Grumpy Cat. That frowny-faced cat is everywhere! What started as a cute internet meme became a lucrative merchandising machine for the cat’s owners, with calendars, t-shirts, and television appearances galore. Who could resist that face?

We hope your 2013 was fantastic and that your 2014 will be even better! Happy New Year!

Social Media Roundup

Friday, December 13th, 2013

This has been a big week in social media, so let’s do a roundup.

  • Uh-oh, Spaghetti-Os! Campbells Soup is in trouble for posting an insensitive Pearl Harbor Day tweet asking Americans to honor the 1941 attack with the following picture:

Needless to say, people were outraged, and the tweet was pulled. The company has since apologized.

  • HBO is keeping the Game of Thrones love alive with a campaign to smear the TV king everyone loves to hate: Joffrey Baratheon. Using the hashtag #roastJoffrey, users are being asked to tweet the nastiest things they can think of about the boy king. Even Oreo and JC Penney got in on the action.

  • Twitter made a major change to its block feature, making it so that blocked users could still follow and interact with their blocker’s tweets. Users were outraged, asserting that the changes favored harassers instead of protecting victims. The move was so unpopular that Twitter undid it the same day.

  • Last but not least, Queen Bey dropped an album with no warning, generating millions of tweets without an ounce of promotional marketing. Beyonce’s unconventional release paid off, as the album shot to number one. Get the full story here.

Diane in 7A

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Thanksgiving, historically one of the worst travel days of the year, got a little more interesting this year. A man named Elan Gale live-tweeted his interactions with the obnoxious woman a couple seats over. As The Daily Dot reports, “Gale tweeted his passed “notes” with a fellow passenger on his plane, after a flight delay caused her to complain.” While Gale tweeted pictures of his notes to the mysterious “Diane,”

speculation has arisen that she may not actually be real, or that she may BE real and suffering from cancer. Either way, Gale, a producer on The Bachelor, comes off looking a bit…nasty. In any case, the story took off, perhaps relating to the “angry customer” narrative so popular on Black Friday. As one tweeter, @benschwartzy, put it, “Somehow the guy who produces “The Bachelor” managed to turn an emotionally distressed woman into entertainment. #GoFigure

Whether or not Diane is real, this story is an interesting snapshot of what it takes to make something go viral. In Gale’s case, all it took was some clever staging, an engaging narrative, and a slow news day.

Social Media and Typhoon Haiyan

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Twitter is known for being a source of up-to-the-minute, on-the-ground news during disasters, and that function has come into play this week with Typhoon Haiyan ripping through the Philippines. The storm caused mass devastation and cost upwards of ten thousand lives. The social networking site is being used to connect survivors, as happens during any disaster, but it is also being used to muster help for those in need. Celebrities such as the Pope are tweeting their sympathy and prayers, but more importantly, disseminating reliable information and places to donate.

Mashable has a good list of ways for those outside the Philippines to send help. They also have a list of reliable sources to follow for information. Meanwhile, what can you do besides donating? First, the best thing you can do is spread the word. Spare a few tweets or Facebook posts to share sources and aid organizations with your followers. Second, be sensitive. Be careful what you post, and make sure your tone is appropriate. As always, common sense is your best friend where social media is concerned.

Twitter’s New Pic Problem

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is in trouble again. The platform is under fire for a much-reviled new policy of making all user-posted media automatically appear in your timeline, with no way around it (you’re welcome, advertisers). This might not sound like a big deal but it’s proving to be problematic in that there’s no way to avoid pictures that are, shall we say, not safe for work.

This new policy backfired on Costolo yesterday when parody account @ProfJeffJarvis posted a full-frontal nude picture and then started tweeting (facetiously) about why he was losing followers. The account, run by Rurik Bradbury of Unison, started including Costolo in these tweets, and Costolo did not get the joke.

Needless to say, somebody seems to have informed Costolo about the truth of the situation, because the account is now suspended. However, the evidence remains, thanks to Storify and ValleyWag.

The lesson to learn from Costolo’s misstep is that you need to pay attention to the conversation before you get involved. It would have taken about thirty seconds for Dick Costolo to look at @ProfJeffJarvis’s feed and see, not only the silly tweets, but the NSFW picture, and he could have either responded with appropriate humor or chosen not to get involved, instead of putting his foot in his social media mouth. In any case, whether you’re a small business or the CEO of a giant company, you need to pay attention to what your users are telling you before you try to diagnose, let alone fix, a problem.

Wake Up, Sleepyheads

Friday, October 11th, 2013

FOX’s new show Sleepy Hollow is taking the social media world by storm. The show started off with a bang, jumping into a Revolutionary War battle and immediately introducing the big bad villain of the show. The premise of the show may be silly, but darn it, it’s fun, and it’s garnering great ratings. But part of the reason the show is developing such huge momentum is because of social media. The social media producer behind the show’s strategy does things like “…tweet along with the show, and we try to engage fans – we’ll try and spark a conversation with them. We also try to feed out those images of those iconic moments, and the quotes as well, to see if we can get some traction on that.” Check out this blog post featuring the producer in question for more about the show’s strategy.

But that’s not all. The show’s writers get in on the Twitter action, even getting into imaginary feuds with other showrunners.

However, the best social media use is coming from actor Orlando Jones, who plays curmudgeonly Captain Irving. He live-tweets both East and West Coast airings of the show, including the Friday replays, and he has led the charge in the formation of the new Sleepy Hollow fandom, dubbed “Sleepyheads.” He’s active on both Twitter and Tumblr, sharing fan art, memes, and games, and best of all, he actively solicits Sleepy Hollow fan fiction from the rabid fans on Tumblr.

So what can we learn from Sleepy Hollow and its fabulous social media strategy? Basically, things are more fun, and more effective, when everyone gets in on the action. Transparency is always attractive to users and consumers, and showing the human side of your company is a great way to get people interested in engaging with your brand. You might not want to go as far as soliciting fan fiction, but letting your personality shine is a great way to go.

A Love Letter to Social Media: Sharknado

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Last night, Twitter was hit by a freak weather event–a SHARKNADO! The Syfy Channel premiered its new movie about a freak weather system that involved waterspouts slurping up schools of sharks and dropping them on Los Angeles. Laughable as the premise may seem, it isn’t half so funny as the veritable flood of tweets about the film. For several hours, #sharknado was one of the top trending topics in the US. Head over to Mashable to see some of the funniest “Sharknado” tweets, or to the Twitter blog to see the numbers on how the Twitter phenomenon happened.

So what can we learn from this Tweetnado? Well, @syfy has it down pat. Don’t waste time trying to control the conversation, because you can’t, and you’ll only come off looking silly. Instead, go with the flow (as long as it’s appropriate) and have fun with it. Users will relish seeing the human face behind the brand, and you’ll win points for making people smile.

A Love Letter to Social Media: Home Depot Hacks

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Home Depot is next on our list of companies doing community outreach well. They’ve started posting on a hashtag called #HDHacks, showcasing cool and unusual stuff you can do with Home Depot products. The most recent is a tutorial for Giant Jenga, which is exactly what it sounds like. Find the tutorial here in the Home Depot online community.

The reason this campaign works is that the brand is using their own products to show their users a good time. This gets people using the online community, but more importantly, it gets them buying the Home Depot’s products. Home Depot is also doing a great job of taking charge of an existing hashtag and using it to promote their product. Finally, they’re seeding it throughout their social presence, everywhere from Twitter to Tumblr. By meeting their users where they hang out, Home Depot is maximizing their chances of getting eyes on their advertising, and hence their chances of purchases, a goal any brand can and should emulate.

Falling Skies Gets Social

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Alien invasion thriller Falling Skies is getting social—really social. During their premier on Sunday, they’re running a Twitter campaign based on which hashtag their users pick: #aliens or #resistance. By tweeting one of the hashtags, a user is instantly immersed in the world of their chosen army, using graphic novel-style artwork. They can get an avatar based on their user picture (or another image) or pick one readymade. Head over to Mashable to get a peek at the artwork.

After the premier, the network will tally up the number of tweets with each hashtag and the winning side will take over the show’s Twitter profile, using more artwork. The hashtags will also be plugged during each episode. Finally, the winners will be featured in a video to promote the show.

TNT and Falling Skies have done two things really well. First, they are creating an immersive experience for their fans. By creating a campaign that depends on the users, they truly make their viewers part of the action. Second, they reward the fans, in this case with artwork. Not only does it make the fans feel special, it provides free advertising that users are proud to display. Not an easy combination to achieve, but an effective one.

How Game of Thrones is Killing It (Literally)

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

We’ve posted before about how well Game of Thrones is doing on social media, but here are some hard numbers. The show’s most recent (and bloodiest) episode, “The Rains of Castamere,” was its most popular episode ever, garnering 367,000 mentions on Twitter. This number crushed the show’s previous record of 277,000. It’s safe to say that the show is getting a lot of attention.

The episode centered around the fabled “Red Wedding,” an event fans of the books have been waiting for for years. The reactions to the event range from shock to outrage, and they’ve been collected in a hilarious Twitter account, @RedWeddingTears. Mashable also did a collection of the twenty funniest reactions, which you can find here.

At this point, HBO has reached every social marketer’s dream: the community is running itself. That’s not to say that there is no need for curation; rather, people are so passionate about the show and the books that they would be talking about it whether HBO maintained a social media presence or not. Therefore the network is doing the smart thing by jumping in and providing some direction for the conversations, and they’re being amply rewarded.

Puma’s Dance Dictionary

Friday, May 24th, 2013

This week in great ad campaigns, we have Puma, who have joined forces with a number of famous dancers to create a “new language” comprised entirely of dance moves. Users can watch tutorials for how to dance certain words and sentences, and then share videos of themselves “saying” things like “Will you be my girlfriend?” and so forth. Puma went all-out to get dancers and musicians well-known in that world (and its key 16-24 demographic), and it appears to be paying off. Check out this Mashable article for more on the clever campaign.

So what can we learn from Puma’s efforts? The key point in this campaign is authenticity. Says Nils Leonard, the creative director behind the whole thing, “Everyone involved with the Puma Dance Dictionary is from those worlds. They’re not in advertising; they’re famous in their own right. To make it credible that’s where we have to go, the audience can smell it out otherwise.”

What Not to Do: Amy’s Baking Company

Friday, May 17th, 2013

This week’s example of what not to do is so heinous we’ll let it speak for itself. What can we learn from this debacle?

  1. Don’t be a jerk. If you’re so far gone even Gordon Ramsay won’t work with you, you shouldn’t be in business in the first place, let alone trying to market yourself.

  2. Don’t shout at people. You wouldn’t do it in person, so don’t do it on the internet. Caps lock is not cruise control for cool.

  3. If you do something stupid, own up and apologize. Do not do any of the following:

    • Blame others–it’s in bad taste.

    • Follow up with more stupidity–self-explanatory.

    • Blame hackers–this is almost never believable.

  4. Common sense. Use it.

Instagram for Brands

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

We’ve covered why your brand should (and sometimes shouldn’t) be on Twitter , Facebook , Tumblr, and more. Next, let’s take a look at Instagram. As the Social Media Club points out, “…we’re constantly being bombarded with messages, advertisements, and calls to action. Visual content grabs our short attention span much faster than a well written article or blog posts.” To put it another way, a picture is worth a thousand words, so get snapping.

The rise of smartphones makes taking pictures easier than ever, and Instagram makes sharing them a snap (pun intended). You can edit and enhance photos from within the app, and then quickly post to Twitter , Facebook , Tumblr, and even Foursquare. In addition to enriching your social media presence with visual content, putting your brand on Instagram has several advantages:

Your users are already there. Instagram has somewhere around 90 million users, taking 40 million photos per day.

It makes your brand accessible. You could share everything from photos of the faces behind your brand to happy customers using your product. It puts a human face to the online presence.

It’s easy. As mentioned above, it’s a no-brainer to connect with other social media platforms, making it super-simple to create your own great-looking content.

It’s measurable. You can monitor how many likes and shares your photos get, or if that’s not enough, there are all kinds of analytics tools that measure how you’re doing on Instagram.

It’s fun. Instagram is a chance to show your brand knows how to have a good time, whether by taking pictures of employees being silly, or using editing tricks to make your photos look cooler.

Bottom line: I can’t think of any brand that shouldn’t be on Instagram, except possibly the CIA . They should probably keep things a little more secret. Your brand, on the other hand…what are you waiting for?

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We’ve covered why your brand should (and sometimes shouldn’t) be on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and more.

To put it another way, a picture is worth a thousand words, so get snapping.

In addition to enriching your social media presence with visual content, putting your brand on Instagram has several advantages:

Instagram has somewhere around 90 million users, taking 40 million photos per day.

You could share everything from photos of the faces behind your brand to happy customers using your product.

Your brand, on the other hand … what are you waiting for?


A Love Letter to Social Media: Roger Ebert

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Last week we lost one of the best-loved film critics and most popular Tweeters, Roger Ebert. MediaBistro has a great writeup of Ebert’s Twitter philosophy, outlining his “Eight Rules for Using Twitter.” Let’s take a look and examine what made Ebert so successful in social media, and how you can apply it to your own posts.

1. “I tweet in basic English.”

Make sure your audience can understand you. Pretty straightforward, really. It’s not that hard to proofread, even in 140 characters.

2. “I avoid abbreviations and ChatSpell.”

It’s hard to use text speak and look professional. Of course, sometimes the character limit forces you to commit grammar or spelling atrocities, but avoid it when you can. This is your brand, not a text to your bestie.

3. “I go for complete sentences.”

Again, it simply looks more professional. Your thoughts and ideas come across clearer. People will be thinking about what you said, instead of puzzling out what you meant.

4. “I try to make my links worth a click.”

Again, self-explanatory. As we’ve said numerous times, content is king. If you are posting interesting material, you won’t have trouble finding an audience.

5. “I am not above snark, no matter what I may have written in the past.”

Twitter is, as Ebert described, “a running conversation.” It’s okay to crack wise, but make sure you’re not being mean or unprofessional.

6. “I tweet my interests, including science and politics, as well as the movies.”

This one is not one I’d recommend applying literally—tweeting politics from a brand account can lead to sticky situations if you offend or annoy your constituency. However, don’t be afraid to tweet interesting tidbits from other areas that are relevant to your brand. If you’re an educational organization, how about tweeting a cool piece of science news? If you’re a gardening business, why not tweet that cool viral video somebody made doing tricks with a garden hose?

7. “I try to keep links to stuff on my own site down to around 5 or 10%.”

Constant self promotion gets obnoxious, even though that may be why you got into social media in the first place. You have to make sure you’re having a good volume of conversations, as well as publishing relevant content from other sources in addition to your own.

8. “I try to think twice before posting.”

This is just good, solid common sense. Ask yourself “does this need to be said?” before you tweet. If the answer is no, don’t tweet it.

Rest in peace, Roger. We’ll miss you.

A Love Letter to Social Media: Game of Thrones Part II

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

We’ve already written a love letter to HBO ’s social media for Game of Thrones. The third season of the fantasy smash just started, and the folks behind the show’s Twitter feed are kicking it off with a bang. They always tweet and retweet relevant content about the Game of Thrones universe, but this past week, they’ve been encouraging social media activity by running a sweepstakes at, where a certain number of tweets with the #GameofThrones hashtag unlocks prizes, ranging from a promotional sigil box to a trip to Belfast . The effort was so successful that the top prizes were unlocked in a matter of hours.

So why was this campaign so successful? It’s a pretty simple equation: quality content + enticing incentives = motivated fans. First, make something your users will actually care about. Second, give them a reason to talk about it (a positive one, please). Then step back and watch the fireworks. Given a good reason, fans will take over the brunt of the conversation themselves and all you have to do is moderate.

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The third season of the fantasy smash just started, and the folks behind the show’s Twitter feed are kicking it off with a bang. They always tweet and retweet relevant content about the Game of Thrones universe, but this past week, they’ve been encouraging social media activity by running a sweepstakes at, where a certain number of tweets with the #GameofThrones hashtag unlocks prizes, ranging from a promotional sigil box to a trip to Belfast.

It’s a pretty simple equation: quality content + enticing incentives = motivated fans.