5 Valentine’s Day Social Media Campaigns We Love

Valentine’s Day is this week and brands are showing the love already. It’s time for romantic stories to make the front page of Reddit and HARO pitches about relationships. As a social media marketer I’m on the hunt for the perfect Valentine’s Day social media campaign, here are a few favorites.

1. Evian #iloveyoulike
I’m a sucker for social media campaigns that tell stories and are visual. This does both.  Evian is running a Social Media campaign for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. They ask you to complete this sentence, “I love you like…”.

Tweet ‪#‎ILoveYouLike‬ to @evianLoveBot and they’ll respond with a Valentine’s message, like the one below, to share with your sweetheart (until February 16th). Except when we tried it we learned @evianLoveBot got suspended, so just use the hashtag and cross your fingers!

To make it fun there will also be fun prizes.

2. #rejectedcandyhearts on Twitter

This one isn’t backed by a brand but is still an example of stellar storytelling. Anyone can create a picture of a candy heart with their own offbeat wish and share it with the hashtag. What’s great about this one is that it’s become a tradition. Brands put a lot of work into campaigns, why not make one like that can be recycled?

@KngHnryVIII  made a special #rejectedcandyhearts for each of his six wives and this one…


3. DegreeSearch’s Nerdy Valentines

For two years in a row, DegreeSearch created their own nerdy Valentines. They are so well done they could literally be printed off and handed out.  last year we created 3 posts of Nerdy Valentines. I reached out to Joseph LeBaron to get more details. “We decided to break the posts up into series of 5 images. The first one was received so well immediately that we kept it going.”

Notice the number of pins, there was definitely love from Pinterest. This makes sense also because women are more likely to talk about Valentine’s Day and according to data from Pew research, women love social media more than men, and it’s especially noticeable on Pinterest.

Here are the numbers:

Likes – 94
Tweet – 24
Pin It – 41K
G+ – 26
Traffic: 12,291 visitors (a small part of that is a resurgence this year)
Likes – 47
Tweet – 16
Pin it – 1K
G+ – 13
Traffic: 2,271
Likes – 41
Tweets – 5
Pin it – 2K
G+ 11
Traffic: 2,179
They also did a roundup of other people’s valentines which brought more traffic and shares (though significantly less than the originals).

4. Milk-Bone #sayitwithmilkbone Blogger Campaign

Milk-Bone chose 10 bloggers who love animals to make Valentine’s Day crafts using the dog treats and display the project on their blog. In addition the bloggers helped spread the word about contests. There was a Twitter party too. Specially marked boxes of Milk-Bone biscuits have a special red dog bone that says “LOVE” on it and a code. You enter the code on a landing page and if you’re lucky you could win a year’s supply of Milk-Bone biscuits plus some cash.

5. Nutrimill Bosch for the love of whole grain Facebook giveaway

This one could be adapted to love for just about any brand. It’s fairly simple and runs for a week even though there is just one big prize. Each day there’s a new finalist and one of them wins a NutriMill Grain Mill on Valentine’s Day. To enter, they ask a lot. You have to LIKE their page, comment on the posts about the contest, like the post, and SHARE the post. It’s working at driving engagement though, with an average of over 64,000 people reached per day.

 They feature the day’s finalist on an image about the contest, which personalizes the contest and gives them another chance to remind people to enter.

This is our favorite Valentine from @jessmisemer – it’s the perfect compliment for any marketer or PR pro:


Your turn! Any fun Valentine’s Day social media campaigns caught your eye this year? Please share!


Best of PubCon for PR Pros

This was my first year at PubCon (an internet marketing and social media conference), though several of our team are regular speakers. Matt Siltala is a bit of a PubCon celeb (he’s famous for his beard and seo/social street cred). Here’s the team in Vegas.

Avalaunch Media executive team

I went to most of the PR-related sessions, most of which were exceptional from both a PR and an SEO/social perspective. Here are my best tips from the top sessions for PR pros.

1. Easily buy SEO and do PR without Breaking the Rules.

PR is content: links, likes, pluses, traffic, media, and blogger mentions. Marty Weintraub showed us how he copies the direct link to a Google+ post.  It’s in a dropdown menu:

Google Plus direct link
How to find the direct link to a Google+ post.

Here’s a direct link for a report from our yeti on how to do social media right: https://plus.google.com/115671137696411026556/posts/JrGQt9vc6gw

After you have the direct link, tweet about it using the Google+ link. Next promote the tweet for the hashtag #pubcon (Marty notes on this one he links directly to a blog post). He also posts on his personal Facebook page where he has many friends/followers and pays to boost the post so more of them see it. On his brand page he uses the power editor and creates many versions of the ad to show in the newsfeed. He targets his trade/industry people, in this case to places like Search Engine Journal, Pubcon and SMX. He creates another version of his ad for PR – places like Mashable, producers, show hosts, and local ad agencies. In addition, you can buy LinkedIn ads, Bing ads, and even run Google AdWords to the post.

While there may not be a direct correlation between Google+ interactions, there is a correlation. If you share and someone engages, then their connections see your content. Then your content rises when that person and their friends do related Google searches.

2. Press Outreach Secrets

Rob Woods along with moderator Warren Whitlock talked about creating press and Rob introduced me to a few new PR tools that I can’t wait to try.

  • Do a keyword search in Google News to find who is writing on the topic you want to cover. In Google News there is a link next to the author’s name and that takes you to their Google+ page. Some people put their email address on their “About” page or there is an icon to email them directly without knowing their email address (some have this disabled). If that fails you can tag them. Scraperr will scrape the top 500 results from any search term. From there you can pay someone on oDesk or Mechanical Turk to find contact info for the articles written that fit what you’re trying to pitch. Or you can do research to find contact information yourself.


  • Subscribe to Muckrack to build a list of journalists on Twitter related to your topic.
  • Search Followerwonk profiles for journalists from publications or blogs you want to do outreach to. For example you could search “tech reporter” or “sports reporter” or even search the URL field for the publication itself, such as “mashable.com, techcrunch.com, etc. You can export the results to a csv file. You can even download a file of only your followers and see if there are people from blogs or news organizations who follow you that you could reach out to.
  • Search abyznewslinks.com to find the newspapers and TV stations for every city, state and many countries in the world. Or find the 15 most popular news websites here.
  • Check out Pitchbox to do research and keep track of your outreach efforts and results.

 3. Pinterest Marketing – How to Leverage the Fastest Growing Social Network

You know you truly love a subject when you’ve studied it for hours and still want to learn all you can about it. That’s how I am about Pinterest marketing. John Rampton shared a simple Pinterest marketing plan.

  • Spend 30 mins. on http://postris.com to see what is trending and to get ideas for your business niche. Breaking news, seasonal or pins for the holidays do well.
  • Go to the “popular” category on Pinterest and comment on the top 30 or so pins in your niche. I’d add that you could repin or like their pins.
  • Use auto-follow tool ninjapinner to auto follow back people who follow you.
  • Plan out your pins with ideas you had.
  • Use Viral Tag to schedule out your pins.

Vince Blackham shared some great case studies of pins that killed it on Pinterest. Check out his slides here. In the Q&A Vince gave advice to a vacation rental company that applies to other businesses too:  “don’t promote yourself, promote the experiences”. So for this company based in Park City, Utah, I picture boards with the best places to eat, the festivals, the farmer’s markets, the events, places to stay (with their properties), skiing, and outdoor activities in Park City, Utah.

For additional Pinterest marketing tips see my slides from Bend WebCAM: 10 Tips for Marketing on Pinterest.

Not only were these sessions incredibly helpful for those of us in public relations or blogger outreach, it was also a pleasure to reconnect with or meet the presenters. Thank you to all who shared their expertise at PubCon. I was inspired to fine tune my pitching and introduced to new ideas and tools to use.

If you were at PubCon, did I miss any great PR insights? Please let me know in the comments.

How to Search Old Tweets and Find Influencers with Topsy

Have you ever needed to find an old tweet? It’s nearly impossible. Twitter search doesn’t go back more than a few weeks and most social media tools only show recent tweets. Today, Topsy saved marketers everywhere by introducing what Twitter promised to release but hasn’t – the ability to search the entire history of tweets. If you’re running a contest on Twitter there wasn’t a reliable way to see all of the entries. Additionally, it was hard to gauge the success of your campaigns. Now there’s a much easier way.

First a short history of Twitter search tools. Twitter did release a tool to download and search all of your own tweets. There is the standard Twitter search but again, they don’t go very far back, and it’s not that reliable. In February, Twitter expanded their search from beyond a few days (but didn’t say how long back, noting that “the Tweets that you’ll see in search results represent a fairly small percentage of total Tweets ever sent.” Like Facebook, Twitter has an algorithm and uses it to determine what tweets are visible. “We look at a variety of types of engagement, like favorites, retweets and clicks, to determine which Tweets to show.”

BackTweets helps you search through your tweet history for tweets that link back to your site. It found no links for our campaign from just two months ago.



Twimemachine searches your own tweets (but not all of Twitter).

TwimeMachine   Read and search your old tweets.

Bonus: this Twitter tool searches to see if a profile or domain is taken.

The great thing about Topy’s search is that you can search by link and it will show you the influencers who shared that link. You can use it in your reports for clients and to reach out to influencers who have already shared your content to do things like thank them or continue the dialog. Since most of the tweets didn’t include @avalaunchmedia in their tweet, this is a way to capture some tweets you may have missed. Make sure you click “all time” to see all results or you can filter by date range.




Here are some tweets from when I first joined Twitter, 6 years ago. Note that you can reply, retweet, or favorite a tweet directly from the search results, without having to leave Topsy.



Power User Tips

  • Sort results from oldest to newest or show newest tweets first but using the sort function next to the search bar at the top of the page.
  • Get an email whenever someone tweets something new that fits your search criteria by selecting “get email alerts” by clicking the gear to the far right of the search bar. Previously I used infoxicate  to set up a custom alert for this.
  • Search within a certain person’s tweets and further define your search using the gear menu options.

This is what Twitter should’ve done first, but Topsy beat them to it.

Twitter Is Still An Amazing Marketing Channel

My Dad on Twitter - Twitter Marketing
My Dad - The Twitter Lover

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to go camping & fishing with my Dad, and two sons.  It was a wonderful weekend to disconnect and just have some good times with those I love.  If you are wondering how any of this has anything to do with Twitter, I am getting to it!   I learned a lesson about Twitter that I never thought possible.

My Dad, a retired Boilermaker (Welder) of 50+ years has never been one I would call “technical”.  He could care less about iPads and computers and technology in general, but he shared something with me that every business owner should pay attention to.

We were talking about gas prices, he was telling me how he remembers paying .15 cents or something like that a gallon, and how hard it is to pay almost $4.00 these days.  He then began to tell me about a local gas station in his town where he can get up to .25 cents off a gallon most times he fills up.  I was interested as to how, and he told me …. “by following them on Twitter and finding the word of the day before I go and fill up”.   All I had to do is just got to Twitter and sign up and follow them.  (He admitted he didn’t even know his username, and I informed him that he could see their Twitter account without having to follow them – they are not private)

This absolutely FLOORED me.  If there was anything I knew about marketing on Twitter, it was that my 70 year old Father would NEVER be using it.   Never.  EVER ….. How wrong I was.   I am dead serious, I didn’t even know that my Father knew what Twitter was!

We got to talking about it, and he told me how he signed up and followed this particular gas station’s account because they share “words of the day” to save gas, as well as other discounts to food items and sodas etc.  He was telling me how much he loved it, and this is where he goes for everything (gas, snacks, sodas etc.)  oh, and how he FAITHFULLY CHECKS IT EVERY DAY.  Smart.

If you are a business owner reading this, reverse engineer the point of this.  Give people a reason to sign up, and come back, no matter the age – and they will.  Now I know there are probably plenty of 70 year olds that are on Twitter, but that is not the point of this post.  The point is that Twitter can work on people you never thought it could work on, (like my Father) when you nail down the perfect reason for THEM to follow.


Larry Fitzgerald “Gets” Twitter And We Can All Learn From Him

I love when I see professional athletes using Twitter, but not just “using” it, I am talking really “getting” it – and understanding the power. It’s no secret I am a HUGE Arizona Cardinals fan, even more – I am a HUGE Larry Fitzgerald fan! FAITH FOCUS FINISH!  I have been following him on Twitter for a while, and watching how he interacts with fans, and I must say, he does a great job.

Check out this recent contest he had on his Twitter stream:

Step 1.  Bait your followers:


Step 2.  Give people a reason to follow you. Larry does a great job with opportunities for for fans to “win” something.  With Larry baiting fans, he  makes them pay attention to his Twitter stream.  (It doesn’t always have to be about controversy and getting fired over Twitter with athletes!)


Step 3.  Make it fun – He makes it fun for his fans, and makes them “earn” it, not just “reply” back with an answer or something.  I use to love when Shaq did this, and made people find him, or go to some crazy location.  It keeps fans on their toes and makes them connect better.  It’s brilliant!


Step 4.  Ever wonder how to bring sponsorships in without being obvious? This works great.  Good for Larry, and good for Coldstone!  Who knows if this really was planned by the two, but its awesome.


Step 5.  Getting people to interact on your Twitter stream – Uploading pictures, talking about you – all of this is making you more popular, and I promise its getting Larry more followers.  This works for everyone, of course it may be on a smaller scale for us normal people that are not superstars, but the basic concepts are still there – if people are interacting on your Twitter stream and talking about you, other people will want to know you and follow you.


Step 6.  Wait for it. Drag it out, why not.

Step 7. Kick Ass Prizes – If you are going to have contests, then make sure your prizes are kick ass.  I would take 2 tickets to the Vikings game please … and you know they are good because they are Larry’s tickets! (Oh, AND I get a signed jersey – yes please)

Other professional athletes should take a lesson from Larry.  He is doing social media right.  He gets Twitter, and understand how powerful it is to connect with and find new fans.  He is an Arizona Cardinal, but did you notice that it was a “nationwide” contest.  The NFL can take a lesson too from Larry, They need to stop banning players from social media and help them better understand it.

We can all learn from this too, its basic – give people a reason to follow you, be interesting, get them talking and gain new followers.  It really is brilliant.

Want to Convert? Attract the Right Traffic

I was looking at my Google Analytics to get the top 10 sources of traffic to my web site. Then I looked at the different sources to see how long people stayed on my site from each source. I found that there was a huge difference in the quality of people depending on the source.

Twitter sent me lots of traffic but the average time spent on my site was just seconds. Compare that to another site that had people who stayed 4 minutes on average on my site. I can now see where to focus my linkbuilding and build my credibility.  I’ll focus on the sites that are sending me quality traffic – it’s much easier to convert. Think of them as warm leads.

This is the audience who will read my blog posts, come to my webinars and who I have built trust with (maybe even buy my online PR book). I can build that relationship by offering to guest post, commenting on their content and otherwise

Develop a list of contacts to build out your network. I like JibberJobber as a CRM to help manage my contacts. Then when you have an article or are starting a new campaign, be sure to contact your network to let them know. If you’re like me my networks are different on every site I’m on and I need to keep track of them.

Where is your audience online – where are the people you want to reach? Are they on forums? Commenting on blogs? On Facebook? You need to know. This post has a list of tools to help you find your audience online.

Here are some tools that I like:

Backtype – You can search for people and follow them to see where they comment. When you hear someone speak or read their blog, find them here and see the places they visit online. If they are new to you see if it’s a valuable place for you to network too.

Twitter Grader helps you find Twitterers by location and other categories.

TweetReach helps you find the people who are tweeting most about a topic. You can put in a hash tag like #SEO and on the right hand side you’ll see who is tweeting about SEO. It shows the numbers of times they’ve used the hash tag. Then follow them. You can also search for your name, your competitors name, etc.

Find the community that likes you and start building relationships. And while you’re at it, if you liked this article, you can join my community. www.Facebook.com/OnlinePRBook or on Twitter at @Newspapergrl.

Getting Shut Out of Twitter, A Story of Saving Tweets

My good friend, and fellow blogger on Dream Systems Media, Janet Meiners (aka Newspapergrl) had an interesting experience getting suspended on Twitter a few months back, and I want to take the time to talk about her experience and share how people can now, never have to worry about this happening to them.

Here is Janet’s story:

I twitter every day and have been building a network there for over a year. First it was a way to talk to friends and follow what was happening in my industry. Then it became a valuable networking tool for my business. One day a few months ago, I logged on and my password didn’t work. I tried again, same issue. I was sure it was the right password.

I went to my twitter account page, www.newspapergrl.com and it said, “this account has been suspended for suspicious activity…nothing to see here, mozy along” or something simliar. My first response was panic. Later it was anger.

Suspended Twitter Account
Suspended Twitter Account

Several people told me I’d get back on quickly. I contacted another friend through Facebook who had the same thing happen to her. She said she was still banned and it had been several weeks. I started to think this might not be resolved as quickly as I hoped. Maybe it wouldn’t ever be. Luckily, I had reserved the more logical version of my profile name: newspapergirl. I thought I’d start over.

In a chat with another friend who had been banned I wrote: “If we get back on we need to backup our account so we could recreate it. I wish Twitter would just charge us for services instead of having to go elsewhere.”

Here’s a piece of an IM conversation I had about it.

9:08 PM me: YES
friend: yes.
me: no way
friend: yes way

I could start a new network, but I had so much history, so much content that I couldn’t piece back together. I couldn’t remember all the people I was following or who followed me.

Finally I contacted friends asking them to vouch for me. A few days later I logged back in. Since then several of my friends have been banned. Once your account is gone you realize how valuable it is to you and how much work and time it would take

Back up your Twitter account
Back up your Twitter account

to rebuild if you lost it.

The end of Janet’s story and the beginning of mine.

After hearing Janet’s story I started asking myself the question — how valuable is my Twitter account? and what would I do if I lost my account, it got hacked, or it was suspended.  It’s not like Twitter is just suspending accounts for good reasons here and there, you can read this article from Jesse Stay at Stay N’ Alive where he talked about Twitter suspending accounts by the hundreds of thousands for no apparent reason.  Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done until I found out that Bloggled offers a Twitter backup feature that allowed me to totally back up my Twitter account, followers and all.  The process is simple and painless and give me some comfort knowing that if something crazy does happen I have a Twitter back up to fall back on.