Monthly Archives: October 2011

An Army of Flones: Halloween in the Digital Age

Trick or Treat, Give Me Something Good to Tweet

I went out for a walk last night and found myself surrounded by brands. To my left was Tony the Tiger, to my right was a Facebook Profile, and just ahead of me was an iPhone being carried by Flo from Progressive and the Geico Caveman. Welcome to Halloweentown, USA, where the candy coating exists only to protect the crunchy core of consumerism. (Note to self: must #OccupyHalloween!)

Now as much as Halloween is an opportunity for people to break out of the mold and express themselves by dressing up in ridiculous costumes, decorating their homes by sticking candles in rotting fruits, and purchasing large amounts of dry ice, it is also fantastic for the economy. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend $6.86 billion dollars this year on Halloween, which comes out to about $72.31 per person.

So how does a marketer get a piece of those dolla dolla bills for their brand?

Progressive launched an all-out campaign to build an army of Flo clones (Flones) and they then armed them to take over the internet. The website was set up, the Google Ad campaign was built, the community manager was active, and the army of Flones grew.

Radio Shack aka “The Shack” has been on a quest to bring back their DIY customers – what better time to reach out to them than Halloween? With a step by step DIY guide to building a robot costume with eyes that light up, their blog made the case for a little holiday shopping trip to The Shack. I would have loved to see them take this a step further, and build out an entire campaign around Halloween, promoted on more niche channels in order to really reach their target market.

Halloween is something that gets people excited, and many will spend weeks planning their costumes. If you can get people excited about your brand, using your brand as a resource for a costume, and tagging your brand online, you win. Your brand will forever be tied to a story in their life and will always be a part of their memories – especially the digital, easily shareable ones.

So next Halloween, remember the song of the season:trick or treat, give me something good to tweet!

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys dressing up in “Pageant Casual Couture” and smiling with her eyes. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

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Socially Made: A Pitch for Surveys

Throughout 2011, Make Me Social will publish Socially Made, a review of social media’s continued evolution in both influence and commentary.

I don’t know about you, but when I see [INFOGRAPHIC] in the title or body of a post, it catches my eye and chances are, I am likely to click on the link no matter what the topic is (here is a less than scientific one for Halloween).

Infographs aren’t necessarily new, but they do continue to gain more and more traction as a way to quickly relay information beyond just a post or tweet. By combining interesting topics with creative designs, the developers of these graphics take advantage of the scientifically proven fact that people receive information quicker through visuals (don’t believe us? Check out the way some college football teams call their plays).

Now, my parents would use this information to comment on the regression of the already feeble attention span the average social media users has , which I don’t necessarily disagree with (c’mon, is reading a normal bar graph or pie chart become too much work?), but that isn’t what today’s post is about.

Today’s topic is about what is behind the Infographs, which are survey results.

Infographs are a sexy way to disseminate information quickly and enjoyably, but what needs to be remembered is that the one page of visually appealing statistics often represents dozens of hours of work, including the surveying process, data collection, analysis, not to mention the actual development of the graphics.

In truth, surveys are the original form of social media. Through surveys and connecting with people to determine what they like and don’t like about a brand, accurate results can be determined, and plans and campaigns can be made. What social media did was take the survey process to the next level by giving individuals a greater opportunity to voice these opinions and measuring perceptions in near real time.

My point in saying this that I have one request for those that enjoy infographs as much as I: Participate in surveys. Sure, most of the surveys we typically get confronted with are more for internal usage and we may never see what the results (plus, it may end you up on an email list, but with the development of Spam filters these days, chances are you will not be hassled a great deal). But, for those organizations that are trying to get solid answers to cool and intriguing questions, sharing your honest opinion is going to help develop a more accurate response, and in turn, a more reliable infograph for me to click on.

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Greg Morgan is Communications and Content Director for Make Me Social, a social media agency that develops customized social media strategies for businesses. With experience in industries ranging from sports to state government, Greg focuses in crafting messages for all types of clients in an effort to perfect what he calls “versatile communications.” Born and raised in West Hartford, Connecticut, he remains a loyal UConn Husky fan, despite now residing in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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The State Of Mobile

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Mike Handy has been working in Social Media since Facebook was only for college students. He started his first blog in 1999 when most people were still figuring out this “Internet thing”.  These experiences paired with his background in advertising and data-centric approach provide him with a unique view of social media. When he isn’t working he is probably watching, playing, or doing something hockey related.

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