How Your Business Can Take Advantage of Major Social Media EventsThe other night during the Grammys one of my clients did something that paid dividends immediately, and it got me thinking of how both small and big businesses, and even nonprofits, can take advantage of major social media events and carefully use them to their benefit. I’d love to take credit for the idea, but I can’t. But you can bet I’ll be employing this tactic with other clients in the future.

My client, a high end salon and spa, posted a picture along with some text that acknowledged that people were watching the Grammy telecast, and then listed a few appointments that they still had available. In a very short period of time they had booked the time slots that were open, and had some happy customers on their hands.

So this got me thinking that there are two approaches to how a business can take advantage of those events that end up as major social media events. The first is a bit more subtle and easy to do, while the second might take a bit more time and creativity.

The first is to simply recognize those events that will drive people online. Things like major awards, major sporting events (the Super Bowl), or even major television show events. The types of events that fill up your newsfeed and Twitter feed with people commenting. On Twitter this is known as “live-tweeting” an event. Not sure what they call it on Facebook. Perhaps “Facebooking?”

For example, Sunday night was a perfect storm. Not only were the Grammys on, but a lot of people were eagerly anticipating the second half season premiere of The Walking Dead, while others were ready to watch Downton Abbey. All three of these are the types of shows that people like to talk about online while they are viewing them. That means a lot of people would be on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Just the fact that these three programs were on meant that a lot of people would be glued to their television’s as well as their computers or mobile devices, checking in with their friends and others on their favorite social networks. What better time to post updates on your business accounts on Facebook and Twitter? Sure, there will be a lot of clutter that night, but a well placed tweet or update has the potential of getting in front of a lot more eyeballs in a shorter period of time. Especially if it’s the kind of post that can generate shares or retweets. Normally, a Sunday night might not be a good time to post for your business, but a night like this past Sunday night might be an exception to that rule.

The second option is to take your promotional efforts a bit further and try to tie into the theme of whatever event is taking place. For instance, with the Grammys, the spa and salon could have posted pictures related to celebrities on the red carpet, and commented on the hair styles or clothing. The red carpet show on E! even included a ManiCam, allowing the female celebrities to show off their nails. What a perfect opportunity for the salon.

And then there was Downtown Abbey and The Walking Dead. Again, an opportunity to talk about fashion, or in the case of the zombies, have a little fun talking about their makeup. Even if the event has nothing to do with your business, you can have fun talking about it with your followers and fans. For some events, you could even use the official hashtag (i.e. #Grammys) as a way of getting attention, though you have to be sure that you aren’t seen as spammy, or as if you are hijacking an event.

I found it interesting that NBC’s Today Show was live tweeting the Grammy Awards, using the official Grammy hashtag, even though the even was being aired live on a competing network, CBS.

One example of this is the work being done by the creative team behind Oreo’s social marketing program, which I happen to think is one of the best out there. During the Grammys, when Justin Timberlake took the stage in a tux for a much anticipated performance, Oreo responded with this image on Facebook and Twitter:

oreo justin timberlake

Those who were watching, and are familiar with Timberlake, “got it” right away. This is why Oreo now has more than 31-million fans on Facebook, and why that image got thousands of likes, comments, and shares. And while that image is one they could have anticipated and prepared for ahead of time, this image from during the Super Bowl blackout had to be done on the fly, and got an even bigger response.

oreo blackout

Pretty creative, but even a local small business can take advantage of these sorts of events with some planning, and especially if you’re the type of person who is able to think rather creatively on the go.

In addition to these types of events, some news events can also be good for this, as long as they aren’t crisis events. Don’t do something like Kenneth Cole or the Gap did as they tried to take advantage of bad situations, and paid the price for it. Sometimes those are situations where silence might be more important.

Find the right moments, create the right content, and see how can use these incredibly heavy traffic times on Twitter and Facebook to your advantage.

Have you ever done anything like this or seen someone do this well (or poorly)?