Category: SoMoLo

New Castle Follow the Money

When all else fails, buy your Twitter followers

You may be familiar with New Castle Brown Ale’s satirical take on marketing. If not, I highly recommend watching their YouTube playlist. They call out the bullocks with no restraint and regularly newsjack big events. Most notably, the brand produced over eight videos about a “mega huge” Super Bowl ad that was never produced, and never was going to be produced. New Castle then proceeded to create videos about how other brands should have made their ads “mega huge.”

However, it wasn’t until June that New Castle turned their satire towards social media marketing. The brand launched an in-your-face social media campaign that was meant to literally buy Twitter followers. Too clever for their own good (they claim that the marketing team was not willing to put in the time to come up with a better idea), New Castle announced the “Follow the Money” campaign.

“Follow the Money” was designed to earn up to 50,000 new followers for the brand on Twitter by paying each new follower exactly $1.00 in exchange for their following. Being a social media analyst and enthusiast, I did not hesitate to participate.

After watching the video (below), going to (very literal) and clicking the “Follow” button, you then waited. About 6 hours later, you received a direct message from New Castle:

Finally, a DM worth receiving!

Finally, a DM worth receiving!

After waiting some more, you should have received a letter from New Castle around September 8th with enclosed payment for your surly duty — a brand new shiny commercial check in your name on it for the amount of one whole dollar!

Not Good Over $1.00

Not Good Over $1.00

So participants received a one-dollar check and something to blog about. But what did this whole stunt earn New Castle?

First, consider the strategy. New Castle wanted to spend the least amount of money to market their product. Let’s be honest, the new Twitter followers are just a byproduct of this campaign. The real aim was the loads of earned media from doing what every other brand did not have the bullocks (or brand voice) to do. It was a lofty goal, but not one too difficult to execute these days. You just need a wacky idea, a press release, a YouTube video and be ability to fulfill the promise.

New Castle Brown Ale ended up with 45,095 total followers (as of 9/11/14 at 5:30pm EST). Assuming they paid them all, discounting the 15,000 or so followers they had prior to the campaign, New Castle paid a total of roughly $30,000, plus postage and handling. However, the brand’s video received over 39,000 views, and the campaign received a considerable amount of media attention in the form of articles and blogs. In the grand scheme of things, the “Follow the Money” campaign was a relatively small investment compared to past campaigns, and well worth the cost per impression.


Facebook Launches Trending Topics

In June 2013, when Facebook announced the launch of hashtags in the News Feed, it made the promise of Trending Topics as well. They are now live! On Facebook’s blog they say, “Trending shows you the popular topics and hashtags that are being talked about on Facebook. You’ll see stories from people and Pages who’ve shared them with you or have shared them as Public. From the right side of your homepage, click a topic that’s trending to see what people are saying about it.”

In what seems to be a full spread release, Facebook launched trending topics on both the mobile app and the desktop experience. The trends appear above posts with the topics on the mobile feed, and on the right sidebar on the desktop.

Facebook_Trending Topics Side bar

When you click on these, you will get all the relevant post in one stream for that topic.


This has been a long time coming considering Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest have all had some sort of “trending” feature at an early start. The notion is that it helps content discovery and unites micro-communities. What are you thoughts on the new feature for Facebook?

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Creating Unique Hashtags

Companies want to make big waves when it comes to Twitter, and one way to do this is to use hashtags to create communities around their brands. But there are two ideologies when it comes to using hashtags. The first is to create unique hashtags. This allows brands to lay claim to the viral movements they create on the social platform. The second is to use existing hashtags that have brand-relevant conversations around them.

When many brands first started to use Twitter, they included hashtags in their TV advertisements. This tactic has been particularly popular in recent retail and fashion advertisements. TJ Maxx has #maxxinista, Marshall’s used #fashionfound and Target recently used #mykindofholiday for discounts. Below is the example of #mykindofholiday usage on a graph, and as you can see they have significant spikes.

mykindofholiday-hashtag Continue reading “Creating Unique Hashtags” »


A Letter to the C-Suite

Dear Executive,

The social media landscape is exciting and there’s a lot happening. Consumers are sharing stories and learning about — and loving — your brands. We wish you were here. A blog post or article about your brand may roll through your inbox from time to time, but to truly appreciate the conversations happening, you need to be online.

Continue reading “A Letter to the C-Suite” »


You need to start qualifying engagement.

“Increase engagement” is the cry! But we can’t always say higher engagement is a good thing — and that goes for any social platform or blog.

Top engaging posts are generally the ones you want to replicate and optimize. But – and yes, there is a but — when that engagement is actually negative, then you have an issue. Sure, this is an opportunity to provide service to these people, but you need to also focus on the issues causing this behavior. And more likely than not, this is a business issue, not one that started online on social. If every time you post about a product and people use it as a forum to post negative commentary about that product, then perhaps you should look at the product one more time. Or if you post a promotion and people use that as an opportunity to comment about your privacy policy, then it’s time to revisit your policies. Continue reading “You need to start qualifying engagement.” »


Stop Treating Social Media Like a Billboard!

A billboard has value when it stirs up business. Sure, you can get a billboard for cheap and it might be a good deal, but no marketer in his or her right mind would rate a billboard simply on its cost per impression. The same should go for social.

Rating social media success based on anything in the silo of social isn’t helping your business. Stop trying to increase the volume of actions and start focusing on the ‘social’ part of social media. Likes, followers, comments, pin, retweets – none of these mean anything to your business. They are simply measurements within the silo of the medium, just like the CPMs of your billboard. They only tell you a small part of the total worth of the medium. Continue reading “Stop Treating Social Media Like a Billboard!” »


Why I Wrote “You Get What You Give”

Update 11/13: You Get What You Give is  available on Amazon!

In the last few years, marketers have been diving into social media to use it as a real tool for their trade. They have jumped online and begun using what they know on the new medium. Despite the cries of the few marketers that “get it,” most marketers are still “doing it wrong” by using old practices on the networks. Every week, we see a new infraction of social media principles published in marketing hot sheets. And it’s not just the simple mistakes, but blatantly bad tactics on social media platforms. 

Companies are hungry to be on social media and believe there is a benefit! However, many are still not quite sure what to do with it, what to expect, how to engage their audiences or how to measure its impact. These are the reasons why I wrote You Get What You Give. Continue reading “Why I Wrote “You Get What You Give”” »


Be Interesting or Interested

Drew Neisser, CEO at Renegade, is always reminding us in the office of one thing when it comes to social presence: “We must be interesting or be interested!”

Be interesting or interested. It is a very simple, yet powerful, concept. What this means is that when it comes to marketing on social, a brand or person must make an effort to either be so interesting that people cannot help but engage, or be so interested in the audience that engagement with quality conversation is a priority.

Being interesting means having big news that your audience cares about or offering them an opportunity to engage in exclusive ways. Being interested is on the opposite end of the scale. It’s about allowing your audience to be the star and giving them the room and ability to shine in your community, akin to Level 5 leadership.

I personally prefer to lean toward the latter and embrace the “social” of social media. There is no reason in my mind why a brand and a person cannot behave similarly when talking *with* people. In most cases a social network is a level playing field. Brands and personal accounts are treated the same way on the network (aside from Facebook). We as people want the opportunity to speak, and social media is the perfect medium for anyone, brand and person alike, to have that exchange.

What “being interesting and/or interested” is not…

It is not about talking about yourself, at least not blatantly and without a purpose. News is always a good reason, but let’s not feed our egos just for the sake of doing so. Share, but don’t gloat.

It is not about asking rhetorical questions (for which the answer is often your product or service). Ask real questions and expect real answers in order to have a real conversation with your audience.

It is not about gamification. Although elements of gamification may fall into the category of  ”being interesting,” it isn’t the ultimate purpose. Gamifying your engagement is almost cheating when it comes to this concept because it isn’t genuine. You want to have genuine engagements with people, not because they want the carrot you are dangling in front of them.

This concept has been a great tool to measure our content against. It’s the first filter we use to make sure content is doing its job correctly. We always ask ourselves, “are we being interesting or interested?”

What tactics have you used to be interesting or interested? 

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#SaltyContent Explained

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But the Internet landscape has since changed, and sticky content is losing. The World Wide Web has grown into billions of websites, and thousands more are being created every day. People no longer have the attention span to hang around one site for hours, albeit 10 minutes! People now cruise the Internet with multiple tabs open on their browsers, a behavior that is also common among mobile users. No one wants to be stuck on a website. Continue reading “#SaltyContent Explained” »

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