“Out of the Box” Marketing and Other Magical Unicorns

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Your client wants to increase engagement, organically, and at an exponential rate. I’m talking a 25% increase in engagement within a month – along with thousands of new followers. At first, you cringed, knowing that your client has absolutely no understanding of how social media works, especially the difficulties you face with organic social. Unfortunately, they don’t care either – they only care about numbers. But that’s okay – everything is okay.

You put together a thorough and thoughtful strategy for your client’s social media strategy, based on a competitors’ analysis and investigation on your client’s social media opportunities and successes. It’s taken you a REALLY long time to analyze every aspect of your client’s social media platforms. Time to present your plan to the client.

“So, this… how will this possibly work? How about we do something entirely different, and we approach our strategy with some ‘out of the box’ ideas!? I can’t wait to see what you come up with. *click*”

This has happened to everyone. Whether it’s a boss or a client, someone has thrown the term “out of the box” marketing at you, and you’ve come to the conclusion that you’re just not a creative person, and you’re terrible at your job. Well, you’re not – you’re great.

I’ve come up with a list of “out of the box” marketing ideas that have been successful for me while working in an agency setting as well as a single-industry setting. Let’s dive in:

Key Influencer Outreach

Especially with Twitter, it’s important to remain a part of the conversation. Most clients think all they have to do is post a few articles each week about company happenings. However, it’s extremely important to identify other thought leaders in your industry and begin dialogues with them.

Put together a list of Presidents, CEOs, Executives, Authors, Reporters, or whomever else consistently puts out content that prospective followers would be interested in. Begin engaging with them. Ask questions on their posts or tweets. Comment with something controversial to spice things up. Retweet and quote something your company disagrees with. This engagement with outside influencers will bring you an entirely new audience that will see you’re actively involved in the conversation, and you know exactly what you’re talking about.

Quizzes

Believe it or not, the internet is STILL obsessed with quizzes. What type of avocado toast are you? How much do you actually know about cyber security? If these are your habits, you can benefit from our incredible hair conditioner!

They may seem silly, and they are. But a great way to get people more interested, and certainly engaged, is to make your industry about THEM. The best part about this type of content is that it’s highly sharable, whether people are bragging to their friends that they got a 97% on a quiz about surviving a zombie apocalypse, or they’re challenging a friend to see what air freshener smell they are. Granted, you’ll have to be creative in figuring out which type of quiz and which topics will work for your company, it’s still great and engaging content.

Online Loyalty Programs

People love being rewarded, especially if they frequent a company or its products. Create an online loyalty program with challenges for your followers. They’ll be rewarded and earn points when they engage with you, share your content, create industry-related content and mention you, review your company online, or participate in industry-related forums. You get the picture. These points add up, and followers can “cash” them in for merchandise, special deals, or maybe even a company mention. The list is endless. Be wary of this, however, because you’ll need tracking software or a very diligent social media intern to keep track of these.

Quora/Reddit

Reddit is a great place to engage with non-typical users, as is Quora. Answer questions on Quora for brand awareness. Users ask questions, and your company will answer questions that you have knowledge about. This will put your company at an advantage against competitors, especially if you really take the time to answer as many questions as you can. Users will begin recognizing your company’s name on industry-related questions, and they’ll trust you and will take the time to learn more about your company. The same goes for Reddit.

Guerilla Marketing

If you have a company that wants to disrupt and may have a larger campaign around the corner, this might be a fun idea for you. Take to the streets with some chalk (since you want to be eco-friendly), and write your social handle EVERYWHERE. Write it on curbs, trash cans, public brick walls. People will see it and wonder why it’s written everywhere, and they’ll be inclined to look you up, which is why this would be much more successful as a part of a campaign launch. Make sure this matches your brand, however.

Contests

People love contests, especially if you’re going to be revealing the winner publicly. There are photo contests, video contests, caption contests, etc. You can use this particularly for engagement purposes, especially if you have contestants @ you to enter. Use a special hashtag to gain votes, and tell your contestants that they need to also be following you. Make them fill out a form if you need leads for cold calling. Make sure you have a lead up to the contest – you don’t want people to be blindsided.

Real-time Interviews/Talk Shows

Tell your followers that every Friday at noon, your company is going to free up the Instagram feed for a live broadcast. Your followers will be able to submit questions during the broadcast that they want answered, and you can answer them right then and there. You’ll be able to moderate and choose which questions are shown to the public and are answered by your company, which is great to block out the occasional troll. This also gives your followers something to look forward to on a schedule, and they’ll know they can always “tune in” on Friday for their hair product questions to be answered.

Host a Webinar

Did you know that there are 4 types of hair – straight, wavy, curly, and kinky? And do you know what type of product you should be using if you have wavy hair? Not a lot of people do. Host a webinar that addresses common questions about your product and how to choose the right product, just for them. Make your audience feel like you’re catering the webinar just for them, and be sure to be as inclusive as possible. It’ll help sell your product while also assuring your followers that you know what you’re talking about.

Texting Campaigns

Humans are still obsessed with their phones – use it to your advantage! Create text message campaigns catered to your business. Send out texts when you have a special promotion going on. Send them out if an executive is going to be speaking at a local event. People look at their texts much more than they look at emails.

However, tread lightly. You don’t want to be blasting out 45 text messages a day, only to find out every single subscriber has opted out of your messages. It depends on your business, but try to only send them when something big is happening, such as a 50% off sale. Get people to sign up by telling them they’ll be a part of a “VIP Insider” club, where only members will receive these special deals or promotions.

Brand Personality

Lastly, companies don’t understand how truly important it is to have a brand personality, both online and in general. Let’s take Wendy’s, for example. Wendy’s blew up the internet when it released its sassy personality and started roasting followers and other companies. You certainly wouldn’t have to be this disruptive or bold, but it is important that your followers feel like they’re talking to someone, rather than a business. People are much more likely to engage with a personality than a logo.

Take the time to comment on your followers’ comments and address their engagements. Be sassy. Be timid. Be outrageous. Swear. Be friendly. No company is the same, but it’s important that you establish a brand personality.

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