Spread the word! A true gift of COVID-19 has been that people are realizing how small the world really can be. People are working, learning, and performing remotely and realizing they can be anywhere when they engage, as long as they have a good internet connection. We have completely expanded our reach and can include people from all over to take part in what we have to offer. Professional conferences can bring in many more high-quality speakers when the host doesn’t have to fund travel and lodging. The arts, both fine art and performing arts, now can expand to an audience well beyond their usual geographic draw. The experiences are different and the time zones may vary, surely, but there is a benefit to expanding your audience.
Virtually, a sold-out stadium is a lot larger than it used to be. To capitalize on the virtual world, now you can spread the word far and wide. Social media ads are a surefire way to reach beyond your neighborhoods for special events, regular programming, and great sales. No traffic, no parking hassles, and it’s a breeze to not have to choose shoes—or any bottoms, really!
To go beyond a few ads, you can run a campaign to share a promotional symbol that people can share in real life with photos on social media. Be creative! Be imaginative! Have some fun!
You might know exactly what I’m taking about and already have a great campaign under way. If not, here are some ideas that will help you think up something fun for your business or cause.
Tune Into the Message
Blast from the past, when every car had external radio antennas, the antenna toppers were great for promoting varying businesses like 76 gasoline, Disneyland, Der Wienerschnitzel (a wiener, of course), and a Jack in the Box clown, among many others. Most cars don’t have an antenna like that anymore so something that works for everyone would be better.
In terms of what can travel on cars, there are the ubiquitous bumper stickers or window clings, the warning style signs (Baby on Board), and flags that hook in windows that have locally been popular for the Lakers.
The pussy hat. Don’t squirm, it was named that because it rhymes with pussycat and also has ears like a cat. That pink, easy to make hat became a symbol of women’s empowerment across the country in early 2017.
Ribbons. Every cancer has a colored ribbon as well as some other disorders and diseases.
Bracelets. They started with Lance Armstrong’s Live Strong and were recreated for many causes after that.
Lapel Pins. These go in and out of style. I used to have a little red dress pin for the American Heart Association. In the 90s there were some gorgeous iridescent glass brooches that signified breaking the glass ceiling.
A Picture’s Worth
Give people something they can photograph. On a trip to Chicago with my beautiful girl cousins, our two young organizers gave us a “Barbie-inspired” doll challenge. We each had a doll (mine was really a mermaid) and were asked to pose her at all the sights we saw and post it in our private “Girl Cousins Trip” Facebook page. It was a riot! My doll had a bit of a naughty streak, I have to admit. But this could easily have been to promote a cause and been made public. Somebody call Mattel and let them know.
Like Elf on the Shelf you can arm your customers/supporters and let them do the work. In the case of the very cute little Christmas Elf, he is the product. The more people who want to do outlandish things with the little guy only sells more products.
Flat Stanley is another great campaign that came from a children’s book. Elementary school teachers encouraged their young readers to color Flat Stanley and send him to a friend or relative. The friend took pictures of Flat Stanley at places in their neighborhood that they sent back to the child with a description of what Flat Stanley experienced. Can you replicate this for your business or cause and ask people to post on your platforms when they receive the mailed item?
This happens to be Movember. No, that is not a typo. Movember is for men’s health. You might have noticed many of the men around you are starting to look like cops from the 1970s. It’s that moustache they’re sporting! That growing movement is in support of Movember.
On the other end, St. Baldrick’s raises money for children’s cancers by shaving heads. That’s in March. Sign-up or sponsor someone for that noble cause.
Brainstorm Your Own Idea
Take some time to think about how you can use one of these ideas, or something else. It can be a tangible item or simply a jpg that you encourage people to add to everything they do for a day, a month, a week … forever! It can even be a hashtag alone like #MeToo was.
Please come back and share your idea here and let us know how it worked for you.
Bigger Than Yourself
If you can’t get anything off the ground right now, let me suggest that if you own an independent business, you support Small Business Saturday on November 28, 2020. Add the logo to your social media posts, use the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday in your posts, and there are a host of materials you can download through American Express. You can build on this and make it uniquely your own. Invite people to post the smallest item they bought from you that day—even if it’s an online purchase. Or the biggest to show small business is a big deal. Put your customers names in a hat for a discount on their next purchase. Anything that spurs your wonderful customers to help you spread your message far and wide.
Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and businesses of all shapes and sizes. Sign-up on her website today to receive helpful insights like this one in your inbox. See how easy your efforts can be here