How to Protect Your Brand on the Scariest Day of the Year

We won’t take up too much of your time reading a blog post today. There are mini M&M’s to collect and fake blood to apply. But for social media marketers, there’s also community management. And if there’s one lesson marketers can take away from today it’s maintaining brand standards. Below are examples of the tricks and treats brands have used to effectively (or not) market their brand on Halloween.

Treats

Create campaigns that still cater to your style and tone of voice. Don’t change your overall messaging, but incorporate it in a way that is still relevant to who you are and promotes your sales goals.

Shoedazzle

The online shoe retailer updated their welcome header to reflect Halloween imagery, while still encouraging shopping behavior and rewarding customers for participating in their themed “Easter Egg” hunt. The website has its same look and feel, without abandoning their chic pink color scheme.

Crumbs bake shop

Instead of going the obvious route with photos of black and orange cupcakes (which they have and are delicious), national bake shop Crumbs created a Halloween themed e-mail marketing campaign, hypnotizing you with a Dracula figure and a direct link to find your nearest Crumbs location. Like the e-mail says, they really are much better than garlic.

Joann Fabrics

The craft megastore is offering .31 flat rate shipping to all their customers using a custom code. Both the numeral and the code reflect Halloween-centricities, without overhauling their image and changing their consistent messaging for easy and accessible arts and crafts. Also, if you’re in the market for a last minute Halloween costume, JoAnns is the place to go. Run.

Tricks

It’s not a treat if you stray away from your identity just to celebrate Halloween. Sure, your picture will get a lot of likes and entertain a lot of users, but your Social ROI will be walking a tight rope. And like on all other days, what you post should follow brand standards.

Mixed Messaging

Make sure your messaging is native to the overall purpose and value statements of your brand. A dentist office can show fans they’re thinking about Halloween without compromising their mission to protect teeth.

Offensive Content

Do not promote any kind of costume or imagery that’s offensive to any one race or gender. We’re looking at you, Slutty Witch costume for toddlers.

Broken links

If you are sending users to an e-commerce site for a “tasty” Halloween treat, make sure we’ll be able to indulge.

Make sense? What Halloween social media posts have inspired you? Share with us on Twitter and Facebook and see what terrifying (but branded) holiday post we have on our page!

Then go forth, and hoard collect candy.

Mike McGee, Co-Founder of The Starter League: Sharing & Caring = Twitter Gold

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Mike McGee, co-founder of The Starter League, a software school that gives students from all over the world a three month long opportunity to learn and network with the best Chicago developers and entrepreneurs, will be speaking Friday at SoMe’s October Insight event.

We love The Starter League for many reasons, but the fact that they launched and grew their business using Twitter especially warms our social media hearts.

Mike will reveal all his best social media tactics on Friday. But as a teaser to his talk, SoMe sat down with Mike for a quick chat on the Mac Classic, DJing, and the best question a student has ever asked.

SoMe: What is your earliest memory of working with computers?

Mike McGee: I remember when my dad got us a Mac Classic computer. It was pretty awesome at the time, but my iPhone is like 5,000x more powerful than it now. And that actually might be an understatement. I don’t remember much else about it besides that fact that I played a lot of Tetris on it.

SM: Many people are intimidated by coding. What’s the secret to getting people comfortable with the subject?

MM: There are things in our lives that come easy or hard to us. When you think about the things you can do now that were initially hard, think back on how that happened. For me, I got good at coding because I worked hard and was really passionate about getting to a level of proficiency.

You can apply this thinking to coding. It’s not easy to learn, but it’s easier than you think. The best way to get to that level of proficiency is to have a website or web app that you want to make real. The desire to make something real will help you learn how to code.

SM: I know Twitter has played a huge role in growing The Starter League. What’s one thing people get wrong when trying to grow their brand on Twitter?

MM: It’s important to share your story, but that can’t be 100% of what you do with social media. What we love way more than sharing our story is sharing the successes of our current students, alumni, and friends.

So basically, share and care about others instead of yourself.

SM: How do you start your day?

MM: I’m a morning person, so I wake up between 4:30-5:15 AM (usually closer to 5:15 AM) and go through some emails. After that, I go play basketball and workout at a local gym, then come back and make breakfast. Then I go to sleep because I’m still really tired (just kidding); I go into The Starter League HQ and get more work done.

SM: What is the best question a student has ever asked you?

MM: “I’m having problems with my code, can you help?” Since I help run a coding and design school, this obviously comes up a lot. The reason why I chose this question is because when a student asks this question we as staff or mentors don’t just give them the answer, instead we teach them how to troubleshoot for the answer themselves. We do this because when they leave our school, we are not going to be around every time they run into a problem, so the most important skill we teach is how to troubleshoot problems.

SM: What’s one skill you’d still like to learn?

MM: I’m very passionate about music so one of my early dream jobs was to be a music producer. I also would love to become a DJ because my dad was a DJ (my mom is pretty good too at a party) so I want to follow in their footsteps one day.

SM: What’s one thing that never fails to motivate you?

MM: Since I’m a morning person I have always loved this quote by the designer and overall badass James Victore:

“We’re like the army. We get more work done by 9am than most people do in a full day.”

My world is quiet in the morning and gives me the best time to get work done, so I like to take advantage of it.

Don’t miss Mike’s Insight talk about growing a brand on social this Friday, October 25 at Bin36 Wine Bar. Enjoy a delicious meal and network with industry professionals. Tickets are going fast, register through Eventbrite today!

Building an Online Community (Some Insight w/ Maria Katris)

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Recently, we had the opportunity to hear Maria Katris – CEO of Built In – speak about building a vibrant and active online community at our ongoing SoMe Insight series on September 27th at BIN 36.

Maria highlighted several key points that are essential in building an online community:

• It requires both online and offline efforts, such as attending other networking events, to spread the word
• High-touch customer service and the willingness to do anything for your super fans are a must
• Consistently testing, optimizing, and gearing the community to what your users need and want and measuring responses
• Being open to critical feedback and making changes that will provide the most value for your members
• Launching new features and tools frequently and being adaptive and pro-active vs. reactive to the needs of your community
• Putting yourself in your users shoes and looking at building a community that is highly focused on them vs. your end objectives and goals
• Sponsors, monetization, etc. will all come once you’ve built and focused on filling a need
• Get to know your fans: it’s amazing what kind of change in the community we make when we discover a common ground among us. Don’t be afraid to pay it forward

You can take a peek at our highlight reel below.

We want to give a huge thank you to Maria Katris for both her time and insights! Our next speaker is Mike McGee, co-founder of The Starter League, talking about passion and authenticity in social media to build a brand. Reserve your ticket for 10/25 here.

SoMe Insight is a monthly speaker series that brings together Chicago leaders and the community to engage in meaningful dialogue about how social and digital media can grow business.