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Filtering by Category: Social Media Marketing

Yik Yak Marketing: The ugly, the surprising and the genius


How to advertise on Yik Yak has even the top social media marketing experts stumped. I discussed this (and what Yik Yak is) in a previous blog post. I've been keeping my eyes peeled for a successful marketing message, and I've found two. First, what not to do. Yik Yak users hate ads and post disappears after a net five downvotes. Not very many people are going to see these ads:

cool for thesummer
cool for thesummer

These musician ads are jacked up in more ways than one. They are asking the reader to type the hashtag into another network like Twitter to find out more. Why would the five people who saw this ad, who all downvoted you and hate you, do that?

You know what wins on social? When the user shares your ad. Here's one I bet you didn't expect:


For Gen Z, this ad is a part of their culture. It's similar to the "just say no" of my Gen X. This is why you should be reading YikYak even if you aren't advertising there: You need to find out what the cultural references are. As a Gen X'er with my nose in Yik Yak, I think I get it.

But something always comes up to point out that I don't get it yet. The other day someone asked if we had to show ID when we bought CDs with parental advisory labels. Think of all of the differences between the Gen X childhood experience and the Gen Z childhood experience that leads to that question!

Okay, time to introduce Bored Restaurant Delivery Guy. He creates urgency to buy now. He prompts discussion that informs about pricing, location and quality. He leaves off-color jokes alone. If you don't have this Gen Z employee in your business or don't know how to emulate one, it's time to start asking yourself why not. If this business planned this marketing campaign, I bow to them. But my guess is they don't even know about it:


Obviously there is so much more to say about this in terms of employee advocacy and all those other social media marketing buzzwords. But really... genius.


This post by CRP Social Media President Mary D'Rozario first posted at

10 Reasons I Love Yik Yak (and none are about marketing)


yikYak21. Yik Yak changes when I drive across town. This is the exact opposite of the globalization of everything else on the internet. You know what is cool about Instagram? I can interact with people at 2am because somewhere in the world it is time to photograph your cat and it doesn't matter what language either of us speak. Yik Yak is the exact opposite. Yik Yak makes it so where you are and having the social skills to interact with the person down the street actually matters to your online experience. Yik Yak primarily allows you to interact with people within 1.5 miles of your current location. It also allows you to set up a "basecamp" location where you can continue to interact. For example, college students can set up their college as base camp and continue to have conversation with classmates while they are home for the summer. Also, if you participate in a conversation, you can continue to participate in that conversation even though you have left the area. I am still in a conversation in New York that started a week ago.

Lastly, you can "peek" on other areas, but not participate. Yik Yak sets up suggested peeks, such as the location of a major sporting event. You can also save your own peek - I have my hometown saved as a peek.

2. It isn't as evil as you would think. Total anonymity and the whole world should go to hell, right? That actually is not how the internet works. Evil in social media is not linear. When there is a little bit of moderation, people start to interact with authority and the evil goes up, not down. It takes heavy moderation to overcome this. Yik Yak has self-moderation: once a comment has a net 5 down-votes it is actually deleted. Also, Yik Yak has started some slight moderation of comments, such as those with direct threats. Still, Yik Yak is far less evil than the comments on the (moderated) website from my local TV news station.

3. There is no whining in social media. We already knew this, but on Yik Yak a net of 5 down votes and it is gone.

4. Your trolling will be graded. Again, we already knew this was how social media worked. In fact, I once belonged to a forum that developed a numerical score for grading trolls with points for originality, etc. On Yik Yak, anonymity means the reader can't be intimidated. Plus all they need to do is swipe left. This goes to point number 2.

5. You win by having a social network beyond Yik Yak. Remember when you were in grade school and you went away to summer camp and then came home with a good joke no one else had heard? Or your Uncle Paul came home from college and told it to you, same thing. That doesn't work on the internet in general  because as soon as you tell a joke it is world-wide. But it does work on Yik Yak. So you can see jokes and games spread organically and geographically, just like happened before the internet. For this to work, the joke or game has to be specific to the Yik Yak interface.

6. Adults can actually talk to teenagers. Okay this sort of is about marketing. Who in marketing wouldn't like to know what teenagers actually think? The saying is that on the internet no one knows that you're a dog. On Yik Yak, no one knows that you are 30.

7. Sometimes Yik Yak actually is news. This works best for places with high Yik Yak usage like college campuses. On a college campus it can be so granular that you can find out a professor is running late to class. In my neighborhood, I found out that the traffic was bad because a funeral for a celebrity was occurring at the church down the street.

8. Highway rest stops are more fun. Don't you ever wonder where everyone is going and what they are up to?

9. You can see people learning the norms of the community. Usually a social media conversation is for the audience. Even if your conversational partner is convinced, there is no way they are going to back down in public. But on Yik Yak, I've seen people actually change their minds in public. When I went into MBA school I gave that as the leadership skill I most admired, so yes, I love to see that.

10. No one has figured out how to exploit it. You would have be very beloved by the community to post an advertisement, otherwise you would have your net 5 down votes in less than a minute. I think I may have seen an advertising post once, at an airport. (If you have seen an ad, please let me know or send me a screen shot.) Even Business Insider merely posted about how to use it, not how to market on it, and the indomitable Gary Vaynerchuk said "you don't know how to do it right" meaning him. As he says, it would take being "very authentic" and being a "practitioner," that is, truly being a community member. It could happen.

UPDATE! Check out this blog post about successful marketing on YikYak!


This post by CRP Social Media President Mary K.D. D'Rozario originally posted at 

Speech at RTP 180: Social Media Listening and Build Your Own Career


RTP 180 is a TED-style monthly speaker series at The RTP Foundation. The June topic was social media, and I joined a fantastic line-up of speakers to share a five-minute message on social media. Every presenter had an element of "build your own career" to their story. Matthew Royce of Forsythe Tech spoke on the science of what we know about effective social media strategies, Amanda Peralta of Duke spoke about channels, Chris Cohen of Bands to Fans talked about pitching Huey Lewis and the News on Social Media and filling a life-long dream, Chris Rice of Carolina Brewery spoke about All About Beers and becoming a national brand, and Justin Miller of WedPics talked about pivoting into an unexpected success.

And then there was me, doing my best to be inspirational about the possibilities that still exist in social media to make your own career, and what I think is the foundation social media skill for that route: listening. We are in a loud 50/50 country and listening is a skill that brings in opportunities. There are tons of little corners of the internet left that don't have a professional listener and companies that need that intelligence. This is more-or-less what I had to say, or you can click the YouTube link:

You are probably familiar with the barbell model of social media conversation reported by the Pew Research Foundation in February of this year. Conversations tend to group into opposing starbursts with rare connecting threads: Republican and Democrat, ACA and Obamacare, Gun Control and Gun Safety.

Curiosity drives listening. I cannot begin to emphasis enough the power of curiosity and what it means to be able to follow those connecting threads. Curiosity is a vital part of your humanity and it is important to career success, but it is essential to taking advantage of the opportunities available in social media today.

And what opportunities! More than 80% of companies say they want to expand their social media presence, but less than 8% of companies say the can readily identify the personnel they can hire as social media managers.  I have used the power of curiosity to take advantage of this mismatch: Over the last few years I became an expert at watching a certain set of social media conversations. CRP now performs social media management for companies in health care and life science.

In the employment section, when I describe the ideal social media manager I ask for applicants with multicultural awareness. Multicultural tends to mean multiracial, and while that is part of it, what I really mean is that I need someone who can understand the threads linking different audiences and different conversations.

My assistant calls this speech the "get your head out of your ass" speech. When I explain how important this is people ask me, "Really? There are really people who cannot follow a conversation across different groups." Yes, really. There are people who have no idea what are the key words that sooth or set off the 50% on the other side of the fence.  These people can't be allowed to speak for any company. This also explains why analytics is not the answer to every question. You have to have someone who understands the data. Larger companies are hiring "internet anthropologists." Smaller companies just need someone who is truly following the conversation.

Can you develop the skills to be a specialist in how different communities talk about the same topic? Can you be that person who can truly follow the conversation? If you can do that, just look at the people who were on the stage.  There are jobs for you, there is success out there for you.

Can you be curious? People ask me about the skills of curiosity. They may not realize that is what they are asking.  The question often sounds like, "How do I find who to read?"

The answer starts with observation. Anything you can do to key up your powers of observation: Write in a journal.  In meetings at work talk less and write down everything. Instagram has turned everyone into a better observer: taking photographs is a powerful observation tool.  Here's one, try live-drawing the plot of the next TV show you watch.

At this point in my speech Karen Kornegay tweeted a link to the work of Perrin Ireland, who is exactly the person who inspired me to start live drawing more of life. She is an artist; I live-draw just to pay closer attention.

Those 80%+ companies that are looking to expand their social media need is listening, whether they know it or not. Making noise is easy. We have more messages than the entire population could possibly listen to. If messaging continues to grow at the current rate, there will literally be more information being put out than the population can absorb. One social media manager, looking at the statistics, suggested in jest that we get people to stop brushing their teeth so there might be a few extra minutes a day to absorb messaging.

The question in social media isn’t when the tree falls, does it make a sound: in our crowded world nothing happens that someone doesn't see. But how does it affect the forest? Listening means knowing the conversation well enough that you didn't butcher that tree for naught, but that you could make an impact on the existing conversation. Bonus skills for being able to measure the impact.  This is social media value, and you only get it from listening.

So it should be obvious that it drives me insane when someone wants to brag about their lack of curiosity. Probably every other successful social media manager feels the same way. You compare Christopher Columbus, who saw a blank spot on the map and risked his life and his reputation on filling in that map.

The blank spots on our maps are so easy to fill in comparison- we have the internet!

And yet I have heard business owners say, “I don’t care what other people think.” Maybe that is super brave, it's probably narcissistic, but wouldn't you be better off knowing what is on the map?

I see business owners that don't want to know anything about what one political group or another is thinking or saying.  In a 50/50 country where 50% of your customers do care and care very much! I recently had a business owner who was trying to sell an expensive lifestyle product diss Kim Kardashian. Dude, you need to know exactly what Kim Kardashian does.  It is now your life mission to know. It is not anything to brag about blank spots on your map except stupid.

And at the end of the day it is even worse than that. Because it's great that social media can enhance our careers or be our careers, but social media is so much more than that.  It is a landscape and an architecture with the unique opportunity for people to be heard, but only if someone is there to listen.

After saying all of that there was a Q & A about totally different things. We got into some technical issues about current trends in pharma and HR. Businesses are way behind in terms of social media policies that address the realities of their regulatory responsibilities and the realities of their employees lives. Businesses are way behind in social media training, partly because of the thought that the schools and colleges might have done that and it didn't happen.

CRP provides that personnel training, as well as vision for how your employees can take advantage of the internal and external social media opportunities that intersect with their responsibilities at your company.

Meanwhile, here's the video of RTP 180.  It starts with set up, the speeches start at the one hour mark:

You Don't HAVE to Use Social Media


Osos Lunch Box, Cary NCThis is Lazarus.  He has a new cafe in the South Hills Shopping Center.  The shopping center is a little tired but the DMV office, the Roses store and the other remaining stores have loyal customer bases survive and keep a steady foot traffic.  Still, the foot traffic is light enough that I meet my Mandarin tutor in the central hall for my weekly lessons. When Lazarus opened the cafe I told him that social media could help him analyze the traffic.  I showed him how you could see a lot about the different people checking in at the locations in the mall and in the immediately surrounding area.  He didn't think that information was useful to him.  This is why he might be right:

Before Lazarus opened the cafe, he operated a hot dog cart in the parking lot of the mall for three years.  Rain or shine, broiling or freezing, he was out there selling hot dogs to all comers.  By the time he opened the cafe, he already knew everyone that comes to the mall whether they bought a hot dog or not. He's that kind of guy.

You know those thick tortilla chips that are made from actual tortillas?  "Restaurant style" they call them.  Lazarus sells little bags of them along with containers of toppings.  He has a microwave and will give you a paper plate to spread out the chips and melt the real shredded cheese.  He asked me what kind of toppings I wanted and I said that I wanted the chemical-filled liquid cheese spread that comes in a jar.

The next week when I came in for my Mandarin lesson he informed me that he wasn't going to be carrying that.  He had asked all of his other customers and I was the only customer that wanted chemical-filled liquid cheese spread. He knows what everyone at the mall likes on their chips. "Besides," he said, "I care about your health."

Lazarus's business model is old-fashioned, but it is also very new-fashioned.  It isn't enough to do a demographic study any more.  If you don't know your customers by name, your competitor will stand in a parking lot for three years and get that information.  I can show you how to use social media to get a sampling of that kind of information and use relationship mapping to project how your social media using customers are influencing their friends.  I can also help you develop a social media presence where you get to know your customers better.

With all the time that saves you, stop by South Hills Shopping Center and get a plate of restaurant tortilla chips and meet Lazarus.  Tell him social media sent you.

Three Social Media Marketing Lessons from the Snowpocolypse



Wednesday, sitting in my car on Glenwood Avenue for a little over three hours, I had some time to glance at the #Raleigh #Snowpocolypse discussions on Twitter, especially when I started turning off the car to save gas.

Aside from a realtor selling beach front property offering very polite wishes for our well-being, no business were on Twitter offering any value related to the storm. (If you saw one that I missed in my fits and starts of driving, please let me know in the comments.)

I can think of quite a few businesses that should have been there.  Jeep dealer with a contest- post a picture of your Jeep in the snow. How about a sports medicine clinic- most treacherous sidewalk photo contest. Or a primary care announcing that their nurse line open for current clients. Or a masseur offering a discount for those of us that pushed a car, oof!

First social media marketing lesson of Snowpocalypse: If you don't show up to the conversation, you don't exist!


After three hours I gave up on getting home.  I was over it. The Hampton Inn at Crabtree Valley was full, but not overly so- some people who had planned to be there couldn't get in, balancing those of us who hadn't planned to stay there at all. It was Wednesday, the governor had locked down price gouging, the room was a bargain.  And yet look at the stacks and stacks (the picture captures less than half of them) of beautiful Hungry Howie's pizzas the hotel gave us!

Second social media marketing lesson of Snowpocalype: Give your customers something to talk about.


This is the real way to do social marketing: give your customers something to talk about. It doesn't matter if they tell their friends on their newfangled cell phone or if they use the newfangled social media.  How many people stuck in the storm called their partner left at home to tell them about their pizza?  I put the picture on my personal Facebook page.  If you were an independent pizza shop in Raleigh, what kind of promotional pricing would it have been worth assure your pizza a place in one of these hotels? The Hampton Inn already knew what the value was in offering it.

What happens if you don't give your customers something to talk about? 1-800-FLOWERS found out. Social media lets you put a human face in front of the customer, and they thought that meant signing their tweets with customer service representatives' names. That's not enough to balance out their ice-cold website. Their Facebook page has one lame picture of a couple of guys standing in the snow not getting anything done.

Third social media marketing lesson of Snowpocolypse: Be authentic about your human face.

Showing real people at work doesn't make anyone any happier to get half-dead flowers but it does put what they're up against into context: 1-800-FLOWERS has a ridiculous business model of shipping flowers via parcel and for the most part their people get it done even on level Impossible. We can hate the CEO and still be rooting for the employees, but even if we were inclined to do that we can't because 1-800-FLOWERS doesn't give us a glimpse of their lives. 1-800-FLOWERS thus is also proving the first rule again:

To be effective in social media marketing you have to show up!