Avoid a Costume Nightmare

As Halloween sneaks up on us, it’s time to brace ourselves for the overload of costume selfies that will surely invade our social media channels. I mean, there is no other reason to dress up other than to be able to show it off online, right? So, it’s important for your costume to be on point and, of course, original. No one wants to be seen out wearing the same outfit as someone else,  eek! Well you’re in luck. Google Frightgeist conjures up the most popular Halloween costumes this year based national trends in costume searches. Nationally, these are the top 5 most popular costumes:

#1. Harley Quinn

#2. Star Wars

#3. Superhero

#4. Pirate

#5. Batman

So, if you’re still searching for a costume, just be sure not to get one of these if you’re looking to stand out. Interestingly, #100 on the list is a Tiger, #200 is Elvis Presley, and #500 is a Spartan. In my opinion, if you’re looking for a costume, type in an idea and if it is not even listed…go for it!


Sometimes You Need to “Lego” of Old Ways

After reading an article by Michael McQueen titled “Change or die”, I was inspired by Lego brand’s story of adaptation and reinvention. The short of the story is that Lego grew into the pioneer toy business, hit a really rough patch in the 1980s, and had to embrace the digital age to not only stay afloat, but evolve into the giant brand and blockbuster hit that we know today. So what did they do to get back on track? In five steps, recalibrate, refresh, reframe, re-engineer and reposition. Fancy words for…they made some big changes while still holding on to their values of inspiring play and creativity. A key element of this change was looking at the business from a different perspective. As McQueen states, “Being able to view the world from a different frame of reference is, in fact, the key to innovation and invention”. He continues, “Such fresh eyes have no trouble thinking outside the box because they have no idea what the ‘box’ even looks like yet”.

When developing a social strategy (or a business strategy for that matter) it is critical to constantly adapt and evolve. Standing still gets you nowhere, literally. If you’re having difficulty coming up with new ideas or looking at things from a different perspective, get more eyes on the prize. Poke friends, family or colleagues for new thoughts. In fact, engage with someone that you know thinks opposite you. You know, the one that you always seem to get into an argument or heated discussion with because they always contradict you. Now, that’s a place to get a new angle.

Ice Bucket Challenge: I Double Dog Dare You

Were you one of the thousands that dumped ice water over your head in the 2014 #ALSIceBucketChallenge? Did you know that the reason behind the trending activity was to support the ALS Association to help find a cure for the devastating Lou Gehrig’s disease? And support it did. The challenge united several thousand people from all over the nation to raise over $100 million which is 3,500% more raised during the same time period the previous year. And it all started when Pete Frates, a former Boston college baseball player was diagnosed with ALS and challenged friends, such as NFL player Tom Brady, to “strike out ALS”.


According to Smith (2014), one of the reasons the campaign was so successful was due to the idea being big, simple and selfless. He states, “Understand how to make your ideas big, selfless and simple and you will be able to control growth”. This campaign was so successful because it played on people’s egos to not only accept a challenge but to challenge someone else. It was like a game of truth or dare where everyone received a dare. And not just any dare…a “double dog dare”. And you can’t turn those down or you’ll ruin your reputation especially when celebrities were involved. Well-known celebrities made the campaign viral such as Drew Brees, Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon, Mark Zuckerberg, Taylor Swift, and Martha Stewart just to name a few. The campaign was clever, funny and for a good cause.

While this movement skyrocketed organically, Skarda (2014) states that “the ALS Association has made concerted effort to educate new site visitors about the disease and their work, even allowing donors to funnel their contributions directly to research”. They made it easy for people to donate and had to make sure they were very transparent about where the money was going. This will be inspirational for philanthropies looking to change up their strategies moving forward, but it won’t be able to be replicated as is. Steel (2014) states, “Social media marketing experts said that would be close to impossible because serendipity played such a large role”.

This campaign stood out amongst other philanthropic efforts because it didn’t revolve around the primary call-to-action of donating. Far too often, people get pressured to donate money and the ALS challenge was more about participation, creativity and spreading the word in the hopes that that secondary act would be to donate. In the noisy environment of charities asking for money around the clock, Smith (2014) sums it up nicely, “This is how you get heard when everyone around you is shouting”…by dumping a bucket of ice on your head.

Dancing with the Social Trends

Trends across social channels change frequently depending on current events, shows, movies, news or time of the year. Companies are looking for their products or services to be top of conversation which represents the strength of the brand, or the likelihood that the brand is being discussed. If users repeatedly talk about your brand, this is a sign of passion. The goal is for the sentiment and passion of the discussion to skew positive over neutral or negative. Lastly, reach is the overall range of influence.

So, what’s trending right now? Dancing with the Stars. Social Mention indicates that Dancing DWTSwith the Stars has a 53% strength, 4:1 sentiment, 29% passion, and 38% reach. This topic is talked about an average of every 20 seconds by 132 unique authors and the overall sentiment skews neutral. Delzio (2015) indicates that one of the more important metrics is total interactions as it is an indicator that the audience is engaging with the content whether they are liking, sharing or commenting. This is the digital version of spreading via word-of-mouth. On the contrary, companies are looking for ROI and whether or not social media efforts are impacting the bottom line. This is a continued strain on social media managers as actual sales conversions are difficult to track across the customer journey through email marketing, traditional print or broadcast media, website traffic, and social platforms. The closest companies can come is to “track how overall business revenues and profits correlate to increasing or decreasing social media efforts” (Delzio, 2015).

While this topic may be trending, according to @DWTS_News, the Dancing with the Stars Premiere TV ratings were actually low. This, of course, could be in comparison to the previous season which is understandable due to other highly watched programs such as The Voice, 2 Broke Girls, The Following, and Family Guy airing at the same time on other networks. It is also interesting that the strength in Dancing with the Stars changes every day which puts the pressure on the network to keep the topic relevant. In order to do so, I’d recommend utilizing the celebrity influencers to spread the word about the show and/or product custom behind-the-scenes content, beyond the episodes and live rehearsal videos, that viewers can only get on their channels. The show should also consider asking for user generated content so that the audience feels like a part of the show. Lastly, sweepstakes to view the show live or win private dance lessons would be an extra bonus to capture attention.