Taco Bell’s Spicy Twitter Marketing Campaign, And Stories You May Have Missed

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Twitter Marketing by Taco Bell

Twitter Marketing by Taco Bell

I’m a native Texan who lives in Seattle. Finding authentic Tex-Mex food in the Puget Sound region is about as likely as enjoying a full week’s worth of sunny days. In June. So my family and I have come to rely on Taco Bell as a reliable substitute for Mexican comfort food – maybe not like Mom used to make, but close enough for sports, as we former journalists used to say.

That’s why the news of Taco Bell’s new branding campaign and menu items got my attention, especially with its reliance on Twitter marketing to spice up customer interest. New hashtags and social media-themed activities have helped to focus the media on the new “Live Mas’” slogan, which officially is unveiled during this weekend’s NBA All-Star Game festivities. The fast-food restaurant chain, owned by Yum! Brands, is also partnering up with former corporate cousin Frito-Lay for a March 8th introduction of the new Doritos Locos Taco, made using Doritos Nacho Cheese chips as the taco shell. And after previous failed attempts, Taco Bell is once again offering breakfast items at more than 700 U.S. locations.

That’s a major marketing effort. So those following @TacoBell (164,000-plus followers) on Twitter have been treated (tweeted?) to a stream of cheerily-delivered teases of the new menu items, early looks via YouTube of new TV commercials and lists of participating stores offering breakfast. The Taco Bell social media team, to its credit, isn’t deleting conversations (some using profanity) that started with complaints about customer service or non-working Playstation Vita codes in select restaurant offerings; these get apologetic responses and promises to fix the situation.

Taco Bell also used Twitter and a website to promote its week-long Hometown Tweet-Off contest, which ended Feb. 20th. Customers were asked to tweet using the #DoritosLocosTacos and #Contest hashtags; the most retweeted tweet wins a visit to their town from the @TacoBellTruck (14,000-plus followers). Although the website says the contest is now closed and the company is currently “calculating all the retweets,” media reports indicate the campaign did the trick by getting some trade publication and mainstream media attention and generating some retweets from various celebrities, including model Niki Taylor and “The Blind Side’s” Leigh Anne Touhy.

I’ve reached out to Tressie Lieberman, director of social and digital marketing for Taco Bell, to get more insight into how her company views Twitter for brand awareness and customer interaction, and its overall social media strategy. We’ll update if we get any response.

(I’ve also asked her about the curious case of the @TacoBellRoadTrip account. This purported to be five guys planning an East Coast tour of Taco Bell’s to rate the restaurants and send out a stream of tweets, pics and videos. The account had 16,000-plus followers, and it was using the Taco Bell logo. It actually asked the company to get in touch with them. I’m guessing it did; suddenly on Friday morning,  searches for the account and a #TacoBellRoadTrip hashtag turned up nada on Twitter. Perhaps a little social media indigestion caused by not getting permission from a major brand?

What do you think of Taco Bell’s use of social media for its new campaign? Serve up your piping hot comments below and consider the following headlines you may have missed from the week:

The Eternal Question About Social Media

That is: is it right for your small business? Millenial Branding’s Dan Schawbel, writing in American Express’ Open Forum, answers that question with three others that business owners should ask themselves before starting a Facebook or Twitter strategy.

We Come To Praise Social Media Managers, Not To Bury Them

I’m guessing this New York Observer post by The Barbarian Group’s Rick Webb has already made the rounds in the social media marketing blogosphere. But I just can’t resist, especially after writing this post last year.

Oh Look: Another Pinterest Post! Read This Now Instead Of Getting Your Work Done

Actually, this well-reported item by Mashable’s Lauren Drell gets deep into Whole Foods’ strategy for this blazing-hot new social network. But I still needs those reports on my desk by end-of-day.

That’s it for this week. As always, share any thoughts/comments for us in the space below. Have a great weekend, good luck on your Academy Awards ballots, and we’ll discuss social media and the Oscars on Monday.

Stay up-to-date on the latest in social media marketing; subscribe to our award-winning blog!

Jeremy Lin + Facebook Subscribe Button = Linsanity

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Linsanity & Facebook Subscribe Feature

Linsanity & Facebook Subscribe Feature

Unless you’ve been hiding in an underground bunker for the past month (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), you have probably heard the buzz of excitement about Jeremy Lin and “Linsanity.” For those who have been living in bunkers, Jeremy Lin is the starting point guard for the NBA’s New York Knicks, and he is winning big-time—both on the court and in social media.

Since he added a spark to a team riddled with injuries, Lin’s Twitter account,@JLin7, has gained nearly 500,000 followers. He has starred in a YouTube video, How to Get Into Harvard, which has registered more than 2.1 million views. His Facebook page has almost a million likes, and his new Timeline profile has almost 70,000 subscribers via the Facebook subscribe button.

Say what? Facebook subscribers? This leads us to our main topic today: the rollout of the new Facebook Subscribe feature, where you can have someone else’s public posts show up in your feed without having to “friend” them.

This is a great option for public figures or people who ARE their business like consultants, coaches, etc. who don’t want to also manage a Fan Page. This is perfect for a social media all-star athlete like Jeremy Lin, who decided to take advantage of the option to make some posts public where his Facebook subscribers could get them in their feed.

A quick 20-second timeout to go over the features of Facebook subscriptions:

  • You are already subscribed to your friends. With the new Facebook Subscribe button, you can choose which of their updates you receive (in other words, if you were subscribed to Jeremy Lin, you could choose to hide all game stories or see just photos).
  • If you don’t see the Subscribe button on someone’s Facebook profile, then you can’t subscribe. Only people who allow subscribers will have the Facebook subscribe feature on their profile.
  • After you allow subscribers, a Subscribe button will appear on your profile. Your public updates will appear in people’s News Feeds once they click the Subscribe button, without them having to be your friend.
  • Facebook Subscribers can see only the things you share publicly. They can also choose how many and what types of these public updates they receive.

Now you can hear from interesting people, journalists, celebrities, or political figures (as if we haven’t heard enough from them), and you can edit what you are seeing from your friends’ feeds. In other words, you can choose to see more of what you want to see…and less of what you don’t want to see.

Sounds brilliant, right?

To set up your own Facebook Subscribe button, go to your Facebook profile and find the “Allow Subscribers” button, located beneath the profile photo. Subscribe functionality is available to anyone 18 and older; younger users are not allowed to post things publicly.

By default, you’re subscribed to Most Updates for all of your friends. Now you can adjust the amount you hear from each person via the Subscribed button on their profile. To do this, hover the cursor over the Subscribed button on a friend’s profile, and then choose the number and types of updates you’d like to see in your News Feed from that friend.

Note: If you plan to use your Facebook profile for both personal and professional purposes, and want to use the Facebook subscribe feature, be sure to stay on top of privacy settings for EACH post. Doing so ensures you won’t publish something personal to your professional audience and vice versa.

We’re excited to see how subscriptions pan out. So are you going to set up the Facebook Subscribe button on your profile? Who’s the first person you’re going to subscribe to who’s not a friend? Perhaps a certain basketball player who’s led his own fast break to electrify both the sports world..and social media?

Stay up-to-date on the latest in social media marketing; subscribe to our award-winning blog!

SplashCast: Social Media and Online Video Marketing’s 2012 Outlook

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Online video had a breakout year in 2011, according to ComScore. A new report from the internet research firm shows more Americans downloaded more online video than ever last year.

How are businesses channeling online video tactics and strategies to help with their social media marketing efforts? And are social media platforms proving to be effective distribution platforms for company videos?

Steve Vonder Haar, founder and research director for top market research firm Interactive Media Strategies, just returned from Miami where he helped organize and program the 2012 Business Video Expo. Vonder Haar talks to SplashCast host Renay San Miguel about the Expo, reacts to the ComScore report, highlights best practices by the likes of Oracle and AT&T and previews trends we’ll see this year in online video marketing.

Stay up-to-date on the latest in social media marketing; subscribe to our award-winning blog!

Small Business Blogging: Social Media as Promotion

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Small Business Blogging

Small Business Blogging

Congratulations! You’ve just set up your company’s blog and have posted exactly four entries. Now what? The challenging part of small business blogging isn’t coming up with stuff to write about – it’s obtaining the actual readership. Here are five best practices for promoting your small business’s blog through social media:

  1.  Cross-promote the blog (and all social channels) on your main website, email campaigns, and off-line marketing materials. We recommend that your social links or icons appear on every piece of marketing material. Going to a trade show? Be sure your promotional flyers and products tease to your social sites and blog. Oh, and don’t forget to post recent blog entries on all social mediums: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.
  2. Experiment with Pinterest. Use the new hot social network by “pinning” the picture in each of your blog entries. This will create a direct link from your Pinterest board to your blog. Pinterest may quickly become a source of referral traffic for your blog.
  3. Use link shorteners to track performance. Sites such as HootSuite and Bit.ly enable users to create free, trackable links to show how many clicks each link receives – AND where the click is coming from (Twitter, Facebook, etc.).
  4. Help out other bloggers or request guest entries. Admire an industry blog? Invite the blogger to write a guest post on your blog or just promote their blog from your social channels. Tweet bloggers and comment on their blogs to show your support.
  5. Find out what matters – then write about it. Use the search functions on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, focusing on your company’s SEO keywords. What are people saying about your industry, products, or company? Adjust your content accordingly. Remember: content is king, and if your entries are boring or irrelevant, users will never read your blog!

Before launching your next blog entry, put an hour into promoting your blog.   Remember that a company blog is often the best place to source leads, engage readers, and turn fans into fanatics for your company.

Stay up-to-date on the latest in social media marketing; subscribe to our award-winning blog!

SplashCast: Rolling With Tumblr’s Social Media Marketing Strengths

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Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn continue to be the “big three” of social networks, and Pinterest has certainly come on strong in the last few months. But there is one blogging platform that keeps flying under the radar, gathering users and slowly sneaking into the social media mainstream – Tumblr.

According to a recent report from ComScore, Tumble is now closing in on 20 million visitors and is actually the second-ranked network in terms of minutes spent by users each visit; only Facebook beats Tumblr in that category.

So is there a place for Tumblr in your business’ social media marketing strategy? Splash Media social media manager Duncan Gilman tells Renay San Miguel about Tumblr’s strengths, the brands and industries using it effectively to market their content and what executives should ask themselves before opening up a business Tumblr.

Stay up-to-date on the latest in social media marketing; subscribe to our award-winning blog!