4 Quick Tips for Hosting a Twitter Contest

By: Allie Herzog

Twitter can be a great place to run a promotion, while also gaining added exposure for your brand or product.  If you’re thinking about running one, here’s some tips to get you started.

1) Develop a unique hashtag (#) to track participation, entries and engagement.  Make it catchy, memorable and short enough so that you’ll still have some characters left to add a message around it.

2) Cross-promote the giveaway on other social networks including Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. There’s a good chance that you have at least a slightly different following on each social network, so promoting across all channels will greatly increase your exposure and reach.


3) Ask bloggers, brand advocates and other partners to help spread the word across their networks, too. Everyone loves a giveaway, so make sure you are asking your community to help spread the word for you, thus offering their own networks the opportunity to take part.

4) Keep it simple! Don’t make the barrier of entry too difficult or require too much thought.  Remember, Twitter is the place for short and sweet, so people might not enter if it requires too much effort.  Asking for a tweet response or a re-tweet is generally the standard for Twitter giveaways.

Seen any good Twitter promos lately?  Let us know in the comments…and stay tuned to the @castercomm feed for announcements on some fun upcoming client giveaways!


What NOT To Tweet During A Crisis…

By: Allie Herzog

think before you tweetThe Boston Marathon bombings, the recent events in Syria, and the annual September 11th observance have all taught us valuable lessons on what not to do during times of crises. Though most brands these days play it smart and either post a short, non-promotional message acknowledging the situation, or perhaps even safer, nothing at all, there are some brands that just still don’t get it!  Here’s our take on what NOT to tweet (or post, or Instagram…) during sensitive times.

1) Misinformation – One of the biggest fails that occurs during a breaking crisis situation (like the marathon bombings) was the sharing and re-sharing of incorrect information. If you’re a news source this is obviously a huge mistake, but even if you’re a brand or individual, sharing wrong information has its consequences. Even if you’re trying to be helpful in sharing info to your followers, a good rule of thumb to follow in breaking news situations is to not share unverified information and only tweet confirmed facts. If you aren’t directly involved, it’s probably best to keep quiet rather than add to the clutter.

2) Regularly scheduled content – Being able to schedule content has become both a blessing and a curse for community managers everywhere. It’s great in that we can load up our streams with content for the day and move on, but it’s also dangerous for this very same reason. By scheduling content and not monitoring your stream regularly (as in, every hour – at least) you may find yourself completely oblivious to breaking news, and tweeting something insignificant while the rest of the world tweets prayers and concern. Even if you schedule content, make sure you are keeping your eye on social media throughout the day and as soon as something comes up that may potentially be breaking news, unschedule those tweets!

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 11.59.00 AM3) Insensitive, promotional or opinion-based content – Even after the breaking news period ends, brands still seem to struggle with how to address world news without offending anyone in the process. Some have famously tried (and failed) to inject themselves into the conversion and some have just been plain old inappropriate! The lesson here is that some things are just not an opportunity for “tie-ins.” If it involves war, mass casualty or other tragedy, you aren’t going to win fans by being clever so tread carefully and use your common sense!

These are three of the biggies, but there are several other lessons we can learn from others unfortunate blunders. What else would you add to this list? Tweet us @castercomm or let us know in the comments!





Government Shutdown Affects Social Media Accounts Too

By: Allie Herzog

As the government shutdown marches on, the far-reaching affects have probably trickled down to impact your life in some way by now, even if you don’t work for the government directly.

For me, the sad silence of my some favorite social media accounts including NASA and the National Zoo’s addictive “panda cam” have made me more aware of just how many people are affected by the shutdown.

national zoo


Tweets like these surely left many people bummed out and the list doesn’t end there, the shutdown is responsible for accounts as high up as The White House’s Facebook page going dark.

white house FB

The White House’s Ominous Facebook Cover Photo

Here’s a few more accounts affected by the shutdown:

@FAFSA – Even innocent loan-seeking college students are affected by the  shutdown.  Those trying to sign up for federal aid or seeking assistance are  out of luck for now…


@USNWWgov – Let’s hope there’s no weather-related emergencies in the next few days because The National Weather Service’s twitter feed is taking a hiatus as well.


And finally, if the above doesn’t faze you, how about the Homeland Security accounts going silent? Both their Twitter and Facebook will not be managed “during the lapse of federal funding.”

homeland security

What other accounts have you noticed going dark since the shutdown? Do you think that social media maintenance should be considered “non-essential?” We sure don’t! Share your thoughts with us in the comments or tweet us @castercomm.