What were you doing while McDonald’s generated thousands of dollars on 11/11/11? Looking through your mail, holding a meeting, or making a wish = missed opportunity. McDonald’s declared 11/11/11 “FriesDay” and gave away fries for 50 cents in selected areas, actively promoting the deal through social media.

McDonald's Facebook promotion screenshot











Notice above how much engagement was generated by a single Facebook post! I am not saying you should start planning a major promotion for 12/12/12 (which wouldn’t hurt), but there are a few lessons you can learn from this big brand.

Lesson #1: Be Timely and Relevant

The world is ever-changing: every day brings new events, new trends and new headlines. There are particular topics that get everyone’s attention and create a buzz. Whether it’s Kim K.’s divorce, Penn State’s scandal or 11/11/11, they get people talking, sharing and researching more information.

If you become a part of this buzz, you might benefit in two ways: (1) by gaining more visibility, and (2) by becoming a valuable resource to your audience. Chances are, your readers will be interested in reading about trending topics and may pass the information on to their friends.

So how do you jump on the “buzz” bandwagon? There are a few ways:

Start your morning with listening to the radio or reading news headlines. I prefer Google News, but it could be any news portal of your liking. Get the idea of what’s happening in the world and how it can impact your audience. Address these issues in your blog or through social media.

twitter iconFind out what’s trending on Twitter. Once you pick a trend relevant to your business, use it in your tweets to encourage engagement and direct traffic to your website. Here is a couple of examples for a Twitter trend #AllIWantForXmas:

MTV tweet

Roku tweet

Facebook icon

Read your Facebook home feed, and if you “like” any other businesses with your fan page profile, check your fan page home feed as well. Get clues from your friends and competition about the most interesting stories of the day. You can use @mention to tag yourself in a comment or tag other pages in your wall post to get visibility on the pages where hot discussions take place. Remember to be relevant, because no one likes spam!

LinkedIn iconCheck out top stories on LinkedIn. Your Twitter followers and Facebook fans might not be on LinkedIn, and they will appreciate you for sharing stories they otherwise wouldn’t have discovered.

Lesson #2: Be Creative

The more attention you can attract to your business – the better! McDonald’s photo of its fries and ketchup spelling 11.11.11 was so simple yet catchy. Try posting interesting images, witty comments, or start a themed contest to engage your audience.

NOTE: this promotion from McDonald’s wasn’t spontaneous and included billboard advertising along with social media efforts. It doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish anything great without planning. Plan ahead whenever possible, but don’t over-rely on plans, because you may never know what news you will wake up to the next morning. Sometimes, a spur-of-the-moment idea that suits the circumstances is all you need to succeed!

Beware, that not every trending topic is good to be associated with. Just because it’s popular, it doesn’t mean you should put your name under it. We will address this issue in our future posts. Stay in touch and share your well-timed promotion stories with us!