Leverage Social Media During Events

Note: This post is a bit different than normal for this blog and not the primary topic of the blog. Having said that, I know a lot of people who read this blog are fellow bloggers or people in the communications field.

I run social media accounts for my job and blog and find it really interesting when something becomes popular. I do find I get the most action on tweets when they are tied to an event, and I love Twitter for live events, so it made sense to live-tweet during the Super Bowl.

Sunday night the big game was about to start and Lady Gaga came on the field to sing the National Anthem. Known for her eclectic style, she didn’t disappoint in an outfit that looked like head-to-toe ruby red slippers that Dorothy wore in “The Wizard of Oz,” with eyeshadow to match. Beyond the sparkles, I noticed Gaga’s hairstyle. It instantly reminded me of Lindsay Bluth’s hairstyle during an episode of “Arrested Development.” This is hands-down my all-time favorite show, so the comparison came to me right away.

A Quick Tweet

I’ve always loved using Twitter, and this comparison while Gaga was still singing was the perfect opportunity to share my thoughts with others. I snapped a picture from my television of Gaga, found a photo on the Internet of the hairstyle I was talking about, popped the photos into my photo grid app and made a new photo. I quickly wrote a tweet, wanting to get it out there while the song was still being performed. To leverage it further, I mentioned the Super Bowl hashtag #SB50 and linked to two Arrested Development accounts: the show’s official account and the most popular fan account I know, @BluthQuotes.

How It Grew

A few friends made comments on it right away. I kept eating, watching commercials and reading Twitter. Suddenly my phone started blowing up with the tweet, so much so that I couldn’t figure out how or where the traction came from. With a little searching I realized Bluth Quotes retweeted it and it snowballed from there.

It was crazy watching the analytics shift in real time as people were discovering it. As of 26 hours later, the impressions are at 69,188 and the engagement is at 16,133, and still climbing. And the point was to make myself and a few others laugh, so to know I was on point that much with fans of my favorite show is great.

ValPass Twitter Gaga Bluth | Kale and Ale

By comparison, my second most engaging tweet was about a Living Social deal to a winery I’ve been to, so I tweeted that with the link to my writeup about the brewery on my blog. Living Social retweeted it, gaining me 9,714 impressions but only 21 engagements and 9 link clicks.

Lesson I Learned

I’m not the first one to take a moment-in-time event and capitalize on it. During another Super Bowl song Oreo had an incredible tweet.

Beyonce was rocking out the Superdome so much during halftime, the power went out. With some quick thinking and keeping in line with its marketing and message, Oreo took advantage of the situation, letting people know that “you can still dunk in the dark.”

Someone who retweeted my tweet mentioned @portiaderossi (the actress who plays Lindsay Bluth) and I realized I should have mentioned her and @LadyGaga or looked at what hashtags specific to her singing the National Anthem were trending at the time, but in my excitement, laughter and desire to share it, I read what I wrote, checking for errors, and pushed send. I really should have known better, as hashtags are a big part of what I do for my day job and personal blog and where the most traction seems to come in times like this, but excitement got the best of me. I should have taken another minute or two and really leveraged the moment, but I wanted to get it out there first, which was my error.

The tweet itself doesn’t have many words. The words aren’t important (except wishing I had including more timely hashtags), the side-by-side images of something timely next to something a certain audience can appreciate are what made this tweet so viral and engaging, which helped the metrics. This picture gave people something they had to expand to see the full image, raising engagement. It was of the moment and silly, so it was fun to share.

You’re Experience

As I mentioned, I run social media for work and this blog, so I’m always trying new things to get the most legs out of every post. And I know tweets I write perform best during live events when the official hashtag is used, where there are more eyeballs on Twitter or people are searching via the event hashtag.

Do you run social media for non-personal use? How do you get the most leverage and views out of a post? What have you learned that either worked or didn’t work, or what are your favorite examples of how people use social media in the moment?

St. Croix, USVI: Activities

This is part two of three focusing on my Caribbean vacation. Read about St. Croix food and my layover in Puerto Rico.

Cane Bay St. Croix | KaleAndAle

Cane Bay, the local beach where we snorkeled and hung out for the day.

St. Croix is made for outdoor activities. As is typical in the tropics, the one day it rained it was still sunny and would pass quickly, but with the tan burn I was sporting, I spent the day at the beach under a large palm frond, so it all worked out.

Aside from lots of time laying on the beach and reading (which was the main point of the vacation), Aaron and I took in some activities since I can’t sit still forever.

Hiking

St. Croix hike | KaleAndAle

The start of the unknown.

We stayed next to the start of the trail into the rainforest and hills to the Annaly Bay tide pools. The trail was much more dense and narrow than I anticipated, so I was thankful for my hiking shoes and time to walk carefully. The course offered some good views but we couldn’t fully explore the tide pools since the sea was angry that day. But it was worth it and a fun adventure since I didn’t know what to expect.

Annaly Bay St. Croix hike | KaleAndAle

View while on the trail in the thick of it all.

Snorkeling

This was my third time snorkeling and each time was unique. You enter the water from the beach, swim a little ways, and the sandy floor quickly becomes coral reefs full of life. The clear water makes it visible for a while, where you can see all kinds of fish and plants. It was so calm and beautiful. My favorite part was just floating, looking around and taking it all in.

We snorkeled at our resort, where we rented our gear for 24 hours, which they let us have for 27 (hashtag island time! Thanks Sweet Bottom Dive Shop!), so we took advantage by hitting up the neighboring beach, Cane Bay, the following morning.

Annaly Bay tide pools St. Croix | KaleAndAle

View from Annaly Bay tide pools, where we hiked.

While there we took in a local beach, but on the north side where we were located there isn’t a bad spot to be had!

We really lucked out in a beautiful, undeveloped island with great weather and wonderful activities. Have you been to St. Croix or another Caribbean island? What was your experience like—please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Friday links

belowfreezing Valerie Dennis | KaleAndAleNot only was it bitterly cold a few weeks ago (as evidenced by this photo) but now we got about 10 inches of snow at my house in a little more than half a day. Think: Shoveling many inches while it’s still snowing! Ugh. Is it spring yet?!!?

Anyway, on to more fun things…

The headline says it all: “How to make a week’s worth of vegan meals for under $30 from Trader Joe’s.”

Growler magazine recently focused on travel, including how to plan a beer trip to a destination/event around beer and 5 great under-the-radar beer cities.

Also, I just activated my CrafTapped account and will be using it and reviewing it sometime this spring. If you are using it, let’s meet up for a drink! If you haven’t heard of it, it connects craft beer drinkers with breweries, bars and restaurants in the Twin Cities to try out new beers, recommend possible beers they will like and host happy hours to meet other like-minded folks. Cool idea, huh? (Note: link is affiliate, if you sign up using it I get a free beer. Which I’ll share with you, promise.)

And, how cool is this? Calling all excellent home cooks: Bon Appetit wants your recipes. Would you give this a try?

St. Croix, USVI: Food

Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Bay hammocks | KaleAndAle

View from the hammocks at the resort in St. Croix. Did not want to leave that spot.

Last week Aaron and I went to St. Croix, the largest and least-developed of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was an amazing escape any time of year, but the fact that right before we left the highs in Minnesota were negative temps made it even better. In this post I will discuss the food I ate and two followup posts will discuss activities and our 24-hour layover in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Food. This will be the most difficult of the three posts. Food is my biggest hesitation when travelling places other than large cities in the United States. I don’t let it stop me, but it gives me pause and slows me down. If anyone has seen a vegetarian or vegan write about how to travel easily with dietary restrictions, I would love to read it.  I would write the post myself but I have’t figured it out. Other than checking the wonderful resource Happy Cow and mentally preparing myself for disappointment, I don’t have solid answers.

Annaly Bay tide pools pano St. Croix | KaleAndAle

View from Annaly Bay, St. Croix, how could you not want to be here?

We decided on St. Croix by looking at tropical locations where we could use hotel points that were somewhat secluded yet relatively easy to access by plane. And I don’t regret for one second the location we picked. St. Croix is relatively undeveloped, with two cities. Only one road on the island is more than two lane and faster than 35 mph. It’s a hilly and lush tropical island, and because it’s the U.S., they speak English and its easy to travel there. Ill save details for what we did in our next post, but here are a few views of the island. Never a bad view whatever direction you look!

However, it is an island in the Caribbean who, for much of its history, wasn’t part of the U.S. they even drive on the left side of the road! Therefore I knew seafood would be plentiful, and I wasn’t sure what they might think my diet contains when I mention I’m a vegetarian. Fortunately, their definition of vegetarian is the same as mine. Unfortunately, staying at a resort, the options were limited. When I ate there, the options were salads or pre-made veggie burgers. The two times we took a cab off the resort, the options were much better.

Christianstad

Rum cake 40 Strand St. Croix | KaleAndAle

Rum cake at 40 Strand was so good.

We went to the capital city the evening the art galleries—which I would learn to mean is Crucian gold—are open late. We ate at 40 Strand Eatery known for fresh local food. It’s a small place and, without reservations, we had to sit at the bar, which meant we could talk to the bartender, watch food prep and see a little of it all. My eggplant was great, and since we were on vacation I decided to have dessert, something I don’t normally want. I had to go with the rum cake. I haven’t had any since living in South Florida, and St. Croix is known for its rum. The cake was topped with a caramel sauce that balanced well. It was a great meal at a good price.

Cane Bay

Cane Bay is the next bay over from where we stayed and have a local vibe. We went on Sunday and the beach and few waterside restaurants were hopping. We had lunch at Off the Wall, which is run by someone who moved from Wisconsin (can’t blame her!) and features fresh food you would want for a filling yet light meal at the beach. The veggie sandwich was packed with fresh veggies and the loaded nachos hit the spot. They are also known for their pizza, which looked great and smelled even better.

Off the Wall St. Croix | KaleAndAle

Entrance to Off the Wall keeps it casual

Later we went to Spratnet Beach Bar. The people were nice, the menu extensive (especially for seafood). Locals and tourists kept coming and going, and they have a house-made infused rum shot that was very warming. We had fried cauliflower—I’m a sucker for any fried veggie—and grilled cheese and cole slaw to go, only because I couldn’t eat another veggie burger or salad.

Rum

Spratnet St. Croix | KaleAndAle

All the rum drinks at Spratnet in Cane Bay

I can’t talk about St. Croix without mentioning rum. It’s all over. Cruzan is named for the island. Not being my go-to drink, I had enough rum to last me a while. But I did have some good drinks that taste better with sun on my face, toes in the sand and the sounds of waves crashing.

All in all I put the food dearth aside for the views, but some good food and drink options are available, especially if you have a car (which we didn’t).

If you have dietary needs, how do you ensure good meals while traveling?

January 2016 update

January 2016 update | Kale and Ale

No sleeves in January! In Old San Juan.

Long time, no blog. It’s been a while, but one thing I’m going to be better about in 2016 is to be more consistent with blogging again. In 2015 I got away from that, but I’m going to work on more an editorial calendar. This includes bringing back Friday Links (read the most recent installment here), where I share what things I’ve found or been doing for the week, and finally writing the posts I’ve been wanting to share for a few months.

I’ve been quiet on the blog because the holidays were busy, then I’ve been writing a bit more than usual for my day job as a magazine and website editor, and then I went on an amazing vacation last week, as seen in the photo above (more on that very soon in upcoming posts).

So today I wanted to let you know where I’ve been and where I’ll be, and share a few fun things I’ve been into.

Yesterday at the library I grabbed the book “The Economy of You,” which is great even if I’m only five pages in. It’s about recession-proofing oneself by sustaining a side gig. I hope to work on my brand and create more job security.

 

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?

Links I love

The Anatomy of a Beer Trade, something I want to do. Have you done one? I’m just not sure about shipping beer safely.

This seems like my kind of sweet: Chocolate whiskey and beer cupcakes!

I’m not one to diet, but if pizza or tacos are on the menu, I might need to rethink it.

What have you been up to this month?