The Art of Going Viral

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You probably heard about a couple in Europe who recently tried to sell a Ty Beanie Baby for nearly $100,000. Their story spread like wildfire across media outlets last week but was quickly put out after being confirmed a hoax.

Beanie-Babygate sparked my interest primarily because I (Kaitlyn) was an avid collector in the 1990s.

However, the story did gain a lot of attention for a story of this caliber. In reality, people sell old items for ridiculous amounts of money all the time. (If you don’t believe me, tune into Pawn Stars on the History Channel.)

Studies show that viral content spreads because it evokes some type of emotion; the most popular being humor, anger or disgust. This doesn’t answer how some content spreads as quickly as it does, though.

In early 2015, the internet went crazy over the “Dress Debate.” The phenomenon started because a few girls were unable to decide the color of a dress and posted about it on social media. The dress sold out in minutes. In one week, a BuzzFeed article about the dress had nearly 40 million views. Several celebrities, politicians and other well-known individuals were publicly discussing the topic, and the story was featured in national media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN. In my opinion, this was either the result of a slow news day or a fantastic PR team.

Imagine if you heard about the “Dress Debate” in every day conversation, sans the media hype. The story would go like this: a few friends went dress shopping and disagreed over the color of a dress. What’s so exciting about that?

Why do we care so much about these ultimately uninteresting stories? Is there something the general public doesn’t understand about the concept of creating a viral phenomenon?

Better question, how does an average business effectively get their message out in the media?

You could create a scandal to get some publicity. Or maybe you could try to swing a celebrity endorsement.

If you don’t have a celebrity on speed dial, add Complete Public Relations into your contact list.

We understand how the media works. Give us a call at 864-289-9772, and we’ll get you results.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Mauldin Cultural Center kicks off One Mauldin. One Vision. Campaign

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Media Advisory

Mauldin Cultural Center kicks off One Mauldin. One Vision. Campaign

What:   The Mauldin Cultural Center will reveal plans to finish the building renovations and celebrate the vision of the Mauldin Cultural Center as the city’s artistic, business, and cultural hub.

When:  Wednesday, April 29, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Where: Mauldin Cultural Center, 101 E. Butler Road, Mauldin.

Who:     City of Mauldin officials, Mauldin Cultural Center board and staff, and Mauldin Chamber of Commerce members.

Why: The Mauldin Cultural Center has transformed from an unused schoolhouse to a community gathering place, where more than 30,000 visitors come to nearly 1,500 events per year. The final phase of renovations includes an innovation center, a green room, enhancements to the amphitheater, and overall safety improvements to the building. With these renovations, the Mauldin Cultural Center can offer more resources to the community, while remaining the place where arts, business, and the community come together.

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Announcement of name change and campaign for ReWiGo Ministries

What:   The region’s only non-profit that focuses on emergency home repairs will be announcing its new logo and brand as well as kicking off a campaign that will involve the entire Upstate.

When:  Tuesday, April 28, at 10 a.m.

Where: 601 Green Avenue, Greenville, S.C.

Who:     ReWiGo staff and board members. Families supported by ReWiGo.

Why:  In order to more accurately describe its mission, vision, and service to the community, the nonprofit will be unveiling its new name and branding. Media will have an opportunity to visit a worksite in progress near the office immediately following the announcement.

iT2Pi to host expo this May

GREENVILLE, S.C. – iT2Pi’s Annual Expo is a free event that will take place at Furman’s Timmons Arena Sunday, May 17.

 

The Expo will have a wide variety of activities for the entire family including miniature workshops where the participants will be building computer games, learning about web development, or learning about the inner workings of the personal computer.

 

The Expo’s interactive displays include 3D Printers, Robotic Arms, Google Glasses, Google Cardboard virtual reality and much more.  Our expo speakers will fill you in on the latest hot topics and inspire you to create.  Also don’t miss the chance to test out your creative skills with their Maker Competition.

 

The event will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more at http://www.it2pi.org.

 

About iT2Pi:

 

iT2Pi promotes STEM initiatives by educating children ages 7 to 17 in the community, especially those from underserved backgrounds, in information technologies. iT2Pi holds regular workshops where a variety of topics, including programming fundamentals, computer security basics, and 3D printing are taught to kids.  Learn more at http://www.it2pi.org

 

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MEDIA ADVISORY: ReWa to celebrate Earth Day

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What:   Renewable Water Resources (ReWa) is celebrating Earth Day with three separate events

When:  Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 9 a.m., Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 11:30 a.m., and Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 10 a.m.

Where: Sealed Air Corporation, 803 N Maple St, Simpsonville, S.C.; Bon Secours St. Francis, 1 St Francis Drive, Grenville, S.C.; and Michelin Headquarters, 1 Parkway S, Greenville, S.C.

Who:     ReWa employees and Greenville County citizens

Why: ReWa’s goal is to promote a cleaner environment, and to protect the public health and water quality of the Upstate waterways, while providing and developing the necessary sewer infrastructure for the growing economy. For more information, visit www.rewaonline.org.

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Liquid Catering welcomes Harn as Director of Operations

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GREENVILLE, S.C. – Gina Harn has joined the Liquid Catering team as Director of Operations.

A Georgia native, Harn began her food and beverage career over 15 years ago, as a hostess at Carrabba’s Italian Grill. She also gained experience in management and office administration at Carrabba’s, before she began bartending in 2005. Harn managed a bar for four years before moving to South Carolina in 2013. Aside from her passion for food and beverage, she enjoys spending her free time with her husband and their 5 year old daughter Stella.

As Director of Operations, Harn will be responsible for ensuring all company and event operations are executed smoothly at off-site events and at Liquid Catering’s own venue, The Old Cigar Warehouse.

“Gina is a valuable addition to our team,” said Tammy Johnson, Liquid Catering’s owner. “She provides the experience and dedication we need to continue to provide great events.”

About Liquid Catering:

Liquid Catering is the Upstate’s premier special event bartending company. Their team focuses on providing full-service bar and beverage catering for weddings, corporate events, galas and more. With an experienced staff of 50, and more than 1,000 successful events completed, Liquid Catering has the experience to make your occasion amazing. Aside from catering, the company also offers cocktail mixing classes, wine classes and event staffing.    

For more information, or to book Liquid Catering for your event, visit www.liquid-catering.com.

The Other Side of Social Media

Greenville public relations firms

Every business owner loves social media, right?

No matter what kind of work you in, if you are doing social media, there is certain thrill when you get new likes, or someone retweets, or someone comments on your LinkedIn page. It’s natural, really, to revel in the good times of social media and talk about sharing stories and creating buzz.

But what happens when the tide turns ugly? When the world decides to target you for a ruthless offensive not seen since Sherman marched South? When the stream of anti-your business is so strong that you can’t even look?

Never thought about that did you? Let’s look at the case of Amy’s Bakery in Arizona. This now infamous restaurant  was featured on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen “Nightmares” and not in good way. After the owners were shown bullying employees and making substandard food, Ramsay walked off the set and social media erupted. The Amy’s Kitchen Facebook site was attacked. Yelp reviews were so negative it was almost comical. People with nothing better to do ganged up on Amy’s Kitchen.

That was only the start. Someone started answering on behalf of Amy’s Kitchen on various sites in crude and rude ways that would make a pro wrestler take pause. Then the owners’ claimed all of their sites were hacked. Then no one believed then. They hired a public relations firm. Then the firm quit.

And then I wrote this column.

But it should make business owners take pause and consider what they would do if they went through a social media crisis situation. Here are some tips from a crisis expert.

  • Get control of your social media sites. Don’t shut down, but screen and block posts. That will keep some of the wolves at bay at least until they creating fake social media site. What do you do then? Contact the administrators for those social media sites to let them know of the false attacks. Then get your friends and workers to do the same.
  • Wait, you don’t know how to do that?  That’s fair because how often do you look for that kind of stuff? Go right now to your social media sites, and review how to block posts, take down your site, how to report malicious activity. Make a copy of those rules and print them out. Put them in a binder in the top drawer of your desk. Review it every two weeks.
  • Go on the counter offensive. Most of the social media scandals lose steam in about two to three days, but the words will live on in the interwebs anytime someone googles your business.  So start creating good press. Admit your mistakes. Be responsive. Look for ways you can help the community.
  • Find the source. If you can pinpoint, who or what is leading the attack, go to them and confront them to stop. Many times, if you smooth that row of feathers, then everything else will fall into place.
  • Engage the media. The vast majority of the time, the media is looking for an answer. If you can give them one, then you will get positive coverage. And that is better than just being roasted with no recourse, which will happen.

Or just hire Complete Public Relations, and we can take care of it for you.