Savvy Businesses Jump On Social Media Memes


Take advantage of what is happening in the news and leverage coverage through hashtags and social media memes. Pay attention to the news, your local neighborhood events, city, national or even  world events. Make fun, build community and profit by what’s going on in your world!

I love the sale on leggings by Puma the day after two young women got ejected (actually not allowed to board) from a United flight due to inappropriate attire. It doesn’t really matter the details of their predicament, what does matter is the ability to act quickly and participate in the controversy by inviting people to check out your take on the situation.

Puma’s special offer on Twitter: “Present any United Airlines ticket and get 20 percent off all leggings at its stores in the United States”  easily tagged on to a Twitter meme just a day after the unfortunate (for United) incident happened. Puma engendered a couple nasty comments but almost everyone else “got it” and joined the fun in sharing, liking and promoting their sale. This easy post earned media attention from the NY Times, Business Journals all over the U.S., Washington Post, Google News plus all over twitter and other social media platforms. Puma received a whole lot of free press for this simple sales event. Their cost? The time it took for one employee to write one social media post (and the 20% discount on each purchase, of course).

Trending discussions online are a new opportunity to promote your everyday items. That Puma sale on leggings probably really did involve at least 2 levels of management to tie that particular meme to a sales offering. You, the owner of a small business making all the decisions in your business, after chuckling about it over coffee in the morning, can decide to post a sales event online as soon as you get your Twitter juices flowing. Now maybe you have to check your stock and wait until you get to the shop but maybe your shop is in the back bedroom. Go for it, be funny, alliterative, creative or just plain simple and easy to read: “Sale on Leggings” and link the hashtag to the discussion or controversy. It’s easy, fun and possibly will draw in someone like me who was just thinking about replacing her leggings anyway!

If you want to discount an item because you have too many of that item in stock (or for any reason) – great – have a sale ! It’s an old, but usually effective, promotional technique. You can promote it easily to any of your existing customers and through your own social media, with a traditional print advertisement (with enough planning time), hang signs in your store, pass out flyers, etc. The rub is that no matter all the work you do in promoting your sale, it’s not that big a deal. Who really cares? Tagging on to an existing promotion, activity or event that is already taking place is an easy way to expand your promotion at little cost or time.

Tagging your promo onto regularly scheduled holidays or events like Back to School or Christmas is an easy way to take advantage of what your customers might b looking for. People may be already looking for sales at those times, so your business can jump in, adding an attractive reason to draw people into your store specifically. Special events designed to attract a lot of new faces to your area, like a street fair, annual town parade or special happening are the best way to develop a your following from neighbors in your community.

Online promotions, based on events in the news, are an effective way to reach a large audience through trending discussions.


About Bridget Bayer

Bridget Bayer is an author and community organizer working to create vibrant main street business districts that support local economies. Bridget believes shared activities are a catalyst for positive change. Her professional work fosters community involvement by creating shared events that enhance communication, develop shared interests and support existing and start-up non-profit organizations. At home, Bridget focuses on innovative ecological practices, hates waste and dependably finds ways to eliminate it. After 25 years in the restaurant industry, she still loves to cook especially with locally sourced veggies including those homegrown from her garden. Bridget, the first mate on Ama Natura, lives on a floating home on the Columbia River in Portland with Peter Wilcox, instigator of the Inside Passage Decarbonization Project, and the lovely Luna, her favorite cat.