Nine Social Marketing Tools From Inc. Magazine

Two of my favorite magazines for blog fodder (and learning, of course) are Fast Company (hands down) and Inc. I read the latter less, but it offers more small-business tips and case studies about entrepreneurs.

I’m  using the November 2011 issue of Inc. to provide you with this expansive list of social marketing tactics by six companies. After reading the six case studies (Inc. always has amazing business case studies), it became apparent that marketers need to be thinking creatively to reach goals. This material comes from the article called Social Smarts with several links from it provided below.

>>Celebrity Tweets. We all know celebrities get paid to tweet, and there is a platform called Sponsored Tweets “that connects advertisers with celebrities and offers online analytic tools for gauging the success of campaigns,” according to Inc.

CampusLive is a website that lets college students earn rewards by playing online games. It used Lindsay Lohan and rapper Jim Jones in two campaigns. The company checked Klout scores (boo) before deciding to hire Lohan.

It paid her $3,530 to publish a tweet, and the rapper earned $1,950 for his tweet.

>>Wildfire. This is a DIY app “that lets you create interactive campaigns, publish them on social networks and view real-time results and analytics. Savored, an online reservation service in New York offering restaurant discounts, chose the Wildfire program costing $3,500 per month. The internal team created a sweepstakes promotion tying in with Facebook. The campaign goal was to sign on new members and gather emails for direct marketing.

>>Offerpop. Birchbox used this platform to help companies create and run promotions including quizzes and photo contests on Twitter and Facebook. There is an unlimited monthly plan which costs $750 for companies with 10K to 25K Facebook fans. Important to mention, Birchbox uses its customer service reps to comb social media for discontent among customers (i.e. product shipping delays) and respond to them immediately.

>>Foursquare. Many of us already sign in to location-based services with friends, but Luke’s Lobster wanted to launch its new location with Foursquare users. It created a Loyalty Special with Foursquare to give repeat customers a change to attend an exclusive launch party the day before the restaurant opening, according to Inc.

>>Twitter Followers. Recently, my friend Robert Dempsey ran an article on Tweet Adder. He provided a tutorial on how to automatically increase Twitter followers. In comments, I shared my disagreement with this tool, yet many bloggers are all about it.

>>eBay. The Inc. editorial team wanted to know how easy it was to buy Twitter followers, so it headed over to eBay and searched for a package. They got into a bidding war with someone else for 11,000 followers for $80. Instead, the research team “settled on a  Buy It Now option promising 1,000 followers for $20.”

(Goes without saying, I’m against this practice; hands down. This, however, is what some businesses are relegated to if they’re late to the party. Probably some similar tactics happening over at Facebook, too.)

>>YouTube. I’m not going to share the merits of this channel. We all know the advantages of a video going viral. Probably about 90 percent of the time, though, the viral video campaigns with more than 1 million views are often produced by creative shops and more than just a flip cam.

>> Traditional PR. EZ Grill launched a media relations blitz using public relations agency services; however, the results (appearances on national media) didn’t garner the ROI in sales the company wanted. (And, nor should it have…my $.02 coming from a PR perspective.) Instead, the company engaged in a video (using some smart creative) coupled with press release that went viral. Alas, sales did not impress.

I have to wonder…how many people need a disposable charcoal grill? Especially when the small metal ones are very portable? Maybe it’s a niche audience of campers these guys should market to?

>>Blue Calypso. To secure paid referrals, The Sweet Spot in Dallas wanted new customers in its hair removal salon specializing in sugaring (what’s that?). It used the mobile marketing platform that rewards people for sharing ads via Twitter, Facebook or texting.

The Sweet Spot owner paid $2,500 per month to get 230,000 impressions. Blue Calypso helped her design an ad offering a discount on treatment. When a member posted the ads on social media channels or texted it, Blue Calypso paid them up to $.30 onto a Visa debit card. The campaign included coupons (a LivingSocial deal went sour),  complimentary services, and rewards to first-time customers.


PR and marketing teams need to be highly creative with clients’ and companies budgets. There are so many tactics and tools to meet objectives in social marketing, but  sometimes it takes trial and error to find the best strategy.

You can be sure, no campaign will succeed without a solid creative foundation. When this kind of money is involved (note the costs detailed by these companies in the case studies) to work with these social apps and platforms, there should be money in the budget for experimentation. Or, have a thick skin when the first attempt fails to reach goals and money goes down the drain.