Sweeten Your Facebook Reach with Emotion (and cupcakes)!

Sweeten Your Facebook Reach with Emotion (and cupcakes)!

Last month I wrote a blog post about the various ways to work around Facebook’s declining organic reach while maintaining an ad-free presence. I’m now sharing a few of the Pages inBLOOM manages to show you the fundamental ways we achieve success with our organic social media marketing strategies.

Warning: some of my cupcake pics may induce an immediate craving for sweet treats.

With the help of Facebook Insights and monthly reporting, we’re able to determine the strategies that encourage the most commentary and actions online and motivate people to make purchases or attend events offline.

Our two case studies, the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation and Cupcake Magician, couldn’t be further apart in their marketing goals, but both resonate with their target audiences due to relatable content that evokes emotion.


The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation (NJVVMF), located in Holmdel, NJ, is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about New Jersey’s veterans of the Vietnam era. Their Memorial honors all those who served our country and state during the Vietnam War, especially the 1,563 New Jerseyans who never returned home.

Since September of last year, inBLOOM has more than doubled the amount of likes on the organization’s Facebook Page. The majority of their fans live in the NY and NJ region, 46% of which are women, 53% men and 71% being over 45 years of age. Clearly we’re reaching their target marketing.

Let’s review some of the ways we’re able to organically reach their audience on Facebook.

Engage your audience with relevant and sharable content.

Daily we post photos and biographies of the men honored at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial who died on that very day during the Vietnam War. These posts receive a lot of engagement from their Page Fans because many of them are Vietnam veterans, family and friends of veterans. Our content is relevant specifically to them.

Douglas Dickerson died in the Vietnam War and we shared his story on August 15:

Sweeten Your Facebook Reach with Emotion (and cupcakes)!

We also maintain a calendar of national holidays related to the Vietnam War, U.S. military branches and patriotism, and acknowledge them on the Facebook Page. Our designer creates attractive graphics with the NJVVMF logo and then we post it with a statement about the holiday, tagging other Pages and using hashtags. These posts receive a lot of engagement and are often shared by other notable businesses and organizations with large networks.

Without any paid advertisement, these posts reach a significant amount of people because of their relevance so they increase their chances of showing up on News Feeds, and are shared numerous times. This is how we can organically reach people beyond the NJVVMF’s audience, introducing new users to the Facebook Page.

National POW/MIA Day was recognized September 19 and we designed and shared this post:

Sweeten Your Facebook Reach with Emotion (and cupcakes)!

Make an emotional connection.

It’s clear when we read the comments on the articles, photos and biographies we post that people feel an emotional connection. We have much greater engagement when we share content that speaks directly to people’s lives. It’s key to read their comments and gauge what’s most successful and sharable.

On one of the daily biography posts someone left a comment saying “Thank you for sharing, it’s nice to see he is still remembered. I wish I could have met him. (He’s my dad, and uncle’s brother).” We also recently posted a photo album for the NJVVMF Gold Star Mothers POW/MIA Ceremony, which received several emotional comments such as “My grandmother was a Gold Star Mother when my uncle was killed. What a great tribute.” and “My brother, a helicopter pilot has remained MIA since April 3, 1972. His remains and 3 other brave men have never been found. All these Heroes that have never been found or returned home, will never be forgotten!”

You may not feel that you have content to share that is as emotionally charged as the NJVVMF, but it’s important to discover ways people can emotionally connect with your Facebook Page. This connection is a powerful way to link the heart of your audience with the soul of your organization or business.

Share stories and news.

We skim over the Page’s News Feed frequently to see if there’s anything to share from Pages that post content, which would interest our Fans. For the most part, we share content from other Vietnam veteran organizations, U.S. military branches, newspapers, television and radio. Google alerts have also proven an excellent source for stories around the world relevant to follower interests.

We often share posts like this one from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s Page:

Sweeten Your Facebook Reach with Emotion (and cupcakes)!

















Sharing and liking content on other Pages also helps us to reach new people who haven’t already liked the NJVMMF Page and also establishes relationships. The Pages we share from often return the favor and share and like our content as well.


Cupcake Magician, located on 54 Monmouth Street in Red Bank, NJ, is a family owned and operated bakery serving a large variety of cupcakes and custom baked goods. With flavors like Pancakes and Bacon, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Cookies and Cream and Chocolate Covered Cannoli, it’s always a dilemma trying to figure out which cupcake flavor to choose to satisfy our sweet tooth. That’s why we always end up leaving with a whole box of them!

Since September of last year, Cupcake Magician’s Facebook Page’s likes have increased by 31% thanks to our formula. It also exciting to note that Cupcake Magician ranked number 10 nationwide by the influential Daily Meal’s 101 Best Cupcakes in America in April 2014. No doubt their social fans helped them to be seen and taste tested in the media.

Here are some of the ways we’re able to organically reach their audience.

Engage your audience with interactive content.

Every Friday is “Flavor Friday” on Cupcake Magician’s Facebook Page. We randomly choose a photo of a cupcake and ask people to guess the flavor by leaving a comment in the post. The first one to guess the flavor receives a complimentary cupcake of any flavor. From the moment we post in the morning until the time we announce the winner in the afternoon, these posts receive a ton of engagement. Because we’re consistent, people know that every Friday they have to visit the Page so they can take a guess.

Here’s an example of a winner’s announcement:

Sweeten Your Facebook Reach with Emotion (and cupcakes)!















We also have “Cupcake Wars,” which are always fun. We create a graphic with two different flavors and ask people “which one” they prefer. Then we’ll tally up the votes from the comments and announce the winning flavor.

Interactive posts are excellent ways to spark engagement and have fun with your Fans.

Post photos of your products.

Visual content such as photos and graphics tend to get shared the most. Brand content, which are images of cupcakes and cakes and how people have experienced these products receive the most engagement. Cupcake Magician provides us with attractive photos of their most popular flavors and custom orders and we post them each day. I must admit, it’s not easy for this sweet tooth to avoid temptation while posting these photos!

Check out this GIANT Pancakes and Bacon cupcake cake! Many people enjoyed this one.

Sweeten Your Facebook Reach with Emotion (and cupcakes)!

It’s not uncommon to have new and existing customers decide to place an order just from seeing a photo we’ve posted. Many times they’ll try to place the order right in the post comments or send us as message.

In addition to posting images of Cupcake Magician’s products, we also share photos from other Pages as a way to give customers some inspiration. If they like what they see, they can call the bakery with their idea and create their dream cake with their decorator.

Make an emotional connection.

Baked goods really don’t have too much of an emotional story to tell, so that is why we’ve come up with creative ways to emotionally connect with the audience.

There’s always a reason to celebrate, especially when you’ve overcome a great obstacle. On Cupcake Magican’s Facebook Page, we acknowledge those who have overcome an illness such as cancer or have a positive outlook on a personal struggle. We share posts from other Pages, such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and congratulate these incredible fighters on their success.

Graysen’s post was news to celebrate and share:

Sweeten Your Facebook Reach with Emotion (and cupcakes)!















Cupcake Magician also likes to give back, so they hold “Sweet Charity” in-store fundraisers where they select a non-profit organization to receive 25% of the sales from one of the many varieties of cupcakes. We post about this on their Page and link to the charity. Letting people know about the fundraiser is a great way to emotionally connect with them. They’ll see the post with the information, as well as the photo of the delicious cupcake and hopefully decide to come in and purchase that flavor, raising funds for their cause.

Every business and organization should allot money to advertising on Facebook. Before you advertise, however, I recommend you invest the time into sincerely stirring the emotions of your audience. By organically reaching your audience, you’ll better understand their needs and desires, and then you’ll be able to advertise your posts in ways that matter most to your audience and bottom line.

Oh and before you stop reading….Which cupcake would you choose? I’m a big fan of the Red Velvet on the back left.

Sweeten Your Facebook Reach with Emotion (and cupcakes)!

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6 Reasons Nonprofit Blogs Should Inspire Action


Nonprofit staff talk for much of their day. Most likely, they don’t record or write down any of the amazing things they say. They’re busy people.

Maybe they motivated a sorority house to cook for homeless families? Maybe they organized several hundred people for a rally? Or maybe they spent an afternoon helping school children to grow their own garden?

It’s clear. Nonprofits inspire action.

So why not use a blog to inspire action as well?

Surely there exists enough inspirational content at any one given charity to go around the earth a million times. Probably half of those stories are real weepers, too.

It’s astounding that with all these powerfully motivating people working at nonprofits, so little of their inspiring words and enthusiasm are shared on blogs.

Nonprofit organizations are not harnessing the power of blogging to build awareness for their causes and attract supporters as they would in person, at an event, in an email or in a letter.

Blogging is one of the most effective tools for internet marketing and a fundamental component of lead generation and organic search. From Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, more and more companies are blogging to increase their digital presence and stand out among the competition.

Every blog post published is another exciting opportunity to rank higher on search engines and drive traffic to a website.

Businesses get it and many of them invest beaucoup bucks in an agency or full-time staff person to create the content necessary to attract their target market. And it works! According to Hubspot, 71% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.

Successful nonprofits are missing out and they shouldn’t because they have the right stuff to write blogs that inspire action.

1. They are assertive thought leaders. 

When searching for answers on a topic of interest, people search for facts from knowledgable and trustworthy sources. Nonprofit leaders are often used to cutting through the muck and getting to the heart of the matter, making the most of the time given to them, and getting their points across effectively and efficiently. As a blogger, this leader will share excellent tips, advice and statistical information that will educate and engage readers.

2. They are networked.

Potential supporters are always lurking among connections. A blog is a great opportunity for a nonprofit to engage its vast network. Blog content is easily shared on social media and you just never know how large or influential a network one person could have.

3. They have a reputation. 

A reputation precedes itself and many charities are the first to receive glowing comments and referrals via a blog. This content is very sustainable, and searchers will continue to stumble upon posts and the nice comments left on them long after they’re written.

4. They make great storytellers. 

The same way stories influence people to volunteer and donate when told in person, engaging blog content is shared and encourages discussion virtually. Nonprofits often stick to their mission, rarely straying from issues that aren’t relevant to their supporters. This is a great strategy for blogging; topics should cover content highly relevant to a readership. It’s also noteworthy to know that businesses that blog 16 – 20 times per month get over two times more traffic than those who blog less than four times per month.

5. They make good listeners.

People want to be heard and nonprofit staff have their ear to the ground listening and staying in touch with their audience’s needs. Like any social media platform, a blog is a great place to comment and engage with people further. Charities benefit from learning new things about their supporters from comments and reactions to posts.

6. They offer value.

A nonprofit should never run out of valuable things to say. No matter which area of work a charity concentrates on from animal welfare to arts education, it offers insights and knowledge into its world unlike no one else.

Nonprofits may not have a large budget to hire a blogging team like a media site or corporation, but they may want to consider hiring a professional to brainstorm topics, manage and publish content, and optimize blog posts.  This person can help maintain the voice of an organization across its blogs and assist staff with staying on track. To learn how inBLOOM can help your organization, contact us.

photo: A Squared Photography

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Sour Over News Feed Changes? Here’s 10 Tips To Organically Grow on Twitter

10 Tips To Organically Grow Your Twitter Following

There is much talk on social media these days about organic vs. paid content. For many of us, the word organic conjures up images of health and bounty, but in today’s world of social media metrics it means sour lemons for many account managers.

Due to the increase in algorithm-driven curation, which is a direct result of investor pressure at companies like Facebook and Twitter, less people are seeing your activity in their news feeds. Sour yet?

How can you grow your followers organically in this new Twittersphere?

To succeed at organically growing your followers, it’s important that you learn how to create the type of content that engages and excites people. If you are successful at running a non paid campaign on social, you will better understand the needs of your target market and how to communicate with them. By nurturing the people on platforms like Twitter, you can influence your audience to take an action or make a purchase.

As Ernest Hemingway said, “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” Advertisers on social often get lost in the numbers sauce and report on likes and retweets, and skip discussing the conversations with business owners and what they mean to sustained growth and longevity.

So how can you maintain relevance and engage the people who like and follow your social accounts without dipping  into your wallet right away? It’s going to take commitment and work but Twitter is a great place to start since it’s focus on content curation is in its infancy and you may not see algorhytmn changes affect its news feed in a major way for some time.

Here are 10 things you can do to organically stand out on Twitter and grow your following:

1. Make your profile a great representation of your brand.  

Your profile and cover images are your two most important data points, so ditch the default Twitter egg and post a real photo. At a Shorty Awards Google Hangout in August, Former chief evangelist of Apple Guy Kawasaki discussed his opinion of what makes up the perfect Twitter profile. Guy thinks your profile image should have you come off as likeable, trustworthy and confident; and also show your smiling face in an asymmetrical position.

Basically, you want people to look at your photo and think, this person looks a friendly confident, smart, trustworthy person; I should follow them. If you are on Twitter as individual representing your brand, these rules would apply; however if you are on as a business or organization, you’ll want to feature your logo as your profile image. For your cover image, choose a photo that represents your brand.

You only get 160 characters in your bio, so make it count! Depending on what you do, it might be difficult to sum everything up into one tiny blurb, so you’ll have to get creative. Just make sure that it’s clear to visitors who you are and what you do.

2. Tweet relevant information on a regular basis.

You should be tweeting at least 3 to 5 times per day, but if you really want to get the most value out of your Twitter presence, tweet as often as you possibly can. The more you tweet, the more opportunities you have to engage with fans, and the more total response you will receive. Share relevant content about things that interest you and your audience, and could also broaden your reach. Check your Twitter analytics to see when you received the most engagement over the course of the month. This may help you figure out which days and times work best for you to be tweeting.

3. Keep your tweets short and sweet.

I know, it’s challenging enough to condense all your information into 140 characters, so how can your tweet get any shorter? Twitter suggests the ideal length of a tweet is 100 characters. This number comes from a report by Buddy Media revealing that Tweets shorter than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate. In some cases if you include a link or attach any images this could get difficult, so you’ll need to get creative with your wording, while still including important keywords and hashtags.

4. Follow trending topics and talk about what’s already popular.

When you sign onto Twitter, you’ll see on the left hand side a section labeled “Trends.” Trends are determined by an algorithm and, by default, are tailored for you based on who you follow and your location. Because Twitter happens in real time, this algorithm identifies topics that are immediately popular, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis, to help you discover what’s hot in the current moment. These trends are a mixture of hashtags and frequently used keywords. But, as I said in my introduction, this may all be changing real soon to favor advertisers.

Another way to find out what’s trending is simply scanning your Twitter timeline to see what everyone is talking about. Maybe there’s a National Holiday, popular news story or topic that is getting a lot of attention. If it interests you and you think it will interest your audience and/or broaden your reach, start tweeting about it.

5. Use exclusive hashtags for your brand, events and promotions.

Exclusive hashtags will increase awareness and the visibility of your events and brand. When hosting an event, make people aware of the hashtag before you even hold it by including it in all your promotions as a way to create more buzz. When creating your hashtag, there are a few things to keep in mind. Make it unique – don’t use a hashtag that’s previously been used. Keep it short – you’re only limited to 140 characters for your tweet. Make it relevant – your hashtag should reflect your event.

Hashtags are great for when you’re having a promotion, too. Dunkin’ Donuts creates a new hashtag each time they have a promotion going on. Right know they have the DD Perks® Rewards program and use #DDPerks whenever talking about it. Fans have really caught onto it! When tweeting about their brand they use #mydunkin and #DunkinDaily. Dunkin Donuts’ hashtags are a great example of how to get creative but at the same time staying relevant.

6. Seek out conversations and jump in.

Twitter happens in real time so it’s easy to start a conversation or jump into one. If there’s a big event happening, such as The Oscars or MTV Video Music Awards, you can expect to see a whole bunch of conservations on your Twitter timeline pertaining to what’s happening during the event.

If you’re physically at an event, check Twitter to see if there is a conversation going on or TweetChat and join in by using the event’s exclusive hashtag. Other great times to join conversations are during webinars or Google Hangouts On Air. You may even find smaller conservations about specific topics among influencers in your industry. By engaging in conservations, you’ll quickly gain followers and broaden your reach.

7. Tweet with the intention to get retweeted.

You’ve seen a tweet go viral, right? It’s insane how 140-characters (or even less) could take Twitter by storm. You’ll typically see celebrity tweets go viral, which is expected since they have some of the largest followings on Twitter. Even the most simple celebrity tweets will get retweeted – for example Emma Watson’s tweet “I’ve been away but …” received 4,396 retweets.

Unfortunately, if you’re not a celebrity or a big source for news, you probably won’t be getting retweeted by hundreds or thousands. However, we do have some suggestions on how to increase your chances of being retweeted. According to Buffer, your tweets have a 12x higher chance of being retweeted if you ask for it, and 23x higher if you actually spell out the word “retweet.” Tweets that include links are 86% more likely to be retweeted. Links are more likely to increase your number of retweets than engagement rate.  Retweets have been shown to be highest in the afternoon, specifically around 5 p.m. With all this being said, the most important thing to do is make your tweets sharable. What makes people share? Funny, helpful, newsworthy or inspiring content.

8. Stand out of the tweet stream noise with images.  

In a constantly updating timeline of tweets, images make your content stand out. According to Buffer research, Twitter posts with photos versus without indicates that photo posts vastly outperform non-photo posts in terms of both clicks and shares. Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. HubSpot has done some researching as well and discovered that tweets with images result in a 55% increase in leads.

9. Follow other businesses and organizations.

One thing you don’t want to do is have the number of people you’re following in the double digits. But as a business with thousands of followers, is it a good idea to follow every single person who follows you? No, it’s not. You don’t want to fill your timeline with noise from people you’ve decided to follow just because you were being courteous. Follow those who you’ve established relationships with, those you’d like to establish relationships with, experts in your industry and sources for news. Make sure to interact with your following by engaging in conversation and sharing their content. After all, Twitter is a source for connection so be sure to stay connected.

10. Don’t go overboard with promotional tweets.

No one likes a narcissist, so don’t make it all about you. Self-promotion is perfectly fine, however, don’t go overboard. Twitter is more about information and conversation, and you don’t want to come off as spammy or pushy. In between tweets about your brand or business, share other relevant content, retweet content from your following, and engage in conversation.

If you need help putting all this together, contact us.

photo: Yane Naumoski, Flickr


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Attract Publicity with the Right Strategy on Social Media

Attract Publicity with the Right Strategy on Social Media

Social media may have opened up the doors of communication among public relations professionals and the media, but it has also made it more important than ever to stand out among the hundreds of emails, tweets, messages and posts reporters and editors receive daily.

Is social media really the best way to get in touch with someone to pitch your story? For some the answer is yes, and others no.

According to a 2014 State of the Media report released by Vocus, in a survey of 256 media professionals from newspapers, online media, TV, magazines, and radio more than 90 percent of respondents say email is their preferred method of receiving story ideas. The other options were social media, phone calls, and instant messenger. Respondents found the most frequent way they received social media pitches was through Facebook (77 percent), with Twitter a close second (73 percent), and 34.7 percent of respondents said they had been pitched through LinkedIn. The survey found that the most respondents—45.3 percent—preferred not to be pitched through social media. So, knowing this, are there ways you can still boost your visibility on social and attract media Absolutely!

Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are excellent places to get to know and reach the people who write about your industry and issues.

Here are 3 things you can do right now to attract the media on social media:

1. Follow Media on Twitter and Create Lists To Track Their Tweets.

Research and find the Twitter accounts for the people covering stories related to your business or area of expertise. Often, a Twitter account is featured near the title or end of an article near the author’s name. Once you follow them (and don’t be surprised sometimes they do follow back), create a list in your Twitter account for the reporters and editors you will pitch when the opportunity presents itself. You can do this by clicking on the wheel icon on the top right of your profile page or pressing “More” and then clicking on Lists.

There you can see the lists people have added you to and you can also create your own lists. I recommend naming each of your media lists by your contact’s beat and coverage area (i.e. local, national, regional). Note: List names cannot exceed 25 characters, nor can they begin with a number. If you follow each other on Twitter, you can ask them, via a direct message, how they would like to be contacted to pitch your story idea or release. Many prefer email, and if interested, they will send you their email via a direct message.

2. Like Media and Get Notifications on Facebook.

First off, when getting to know any newsroom or media contact, you should subscribe to their digital or print publication and watch or listen in to their station. And today many media outlets have social media accounts with a whole host of pictures and story and staff highlights shared throughout the day on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s just as key that you follow these accounts as well. After you like the page, you can choose to “Get Notifications” and stay updated on posts as they are shared. You’ll find this option under “Liked”.

You can also look for your media contacts at the news publications or stations individually on Facebook. Just be sure to “Like” and not “Friend” them. Once you like their page, you can sign up for their notifications, too. Just note that media contacts all use Facebook very differently. Many use the site for personal realtionships (after all they are human too with friends and family on Facebook) and may be turned off by your friend request, which, most likely, you followed-up to a story pitch you emailed. Think about a networking party: Would you follow a reporter or news anchor home after meeting at a networking luncheon? I hope your answer is no.

3. Create Google Alerts for Contacts in the Media.

Sign up for Google Alerts to receive email notifications any time that Google finds new results on your media contact. You can sign up for Google alerts at no cost, but you must have a Google account and be logged in to create your alerts. Once you choose the words/phrases you want to receive alerts for, you will be asked to choose how often you would like to be emailed the alert: as-it-happens, once a day or once a week. For social media networking purposes, I choose to receive alerts as-it-happens. For example, if I were to receive an alert announcing that my local news team was nominated for an Emmy, I could then immediately hop on Twitter and congratulate them. It’s one of my favorite tools (second to Google Analytics)!

Just be sure to choose only the best results to get stories most closely related to the words you create alerts for. In addition to names of media contacts and bloggers, I receive emails for phrases relevant to my clients like “New York Times Pets”, “Pet Care Trends”, “NJ Arts” and “New Jersey Arts”.

Now, after you are doing these three things for a few months, you will begin to feel more connected and comfortable with approaching the media contacts. Social media may not always be the preferred place to contact media with your story ideas, but it’s a great place to start your research and conversations. 

Start engaging on social and best of luck on your media outreach. Have a question, please feel free to comment on this blog or contact me.

 Photo Credit: Esther Vargas

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