What Goldfish Can Teach Us About Social Media Marketing

by James K Rector

The voice came over the intercom speaker of my desk phone, “Hey James, are you there? Can you come to my office? I have something I need to talk to you about.”

The Bait

There is always an internal cringe when you hear such a phrase; however, the voice on the other end belonged to one of our brand managers, so I knew it was most likely a client request that needed attention. Having barely stepped inside the door frame to the brand manager’s office, I basically remember hearing three key phrases, “email from website,” “giant goldfish” and “Lee’s biscuit.”

Lee's Famous Biscuit

As a Community Manager much of your daily energy is consumed by monitoring not only your clients' social platforms, but researching trends and breaking news that is relevant for your clients. But there are rare golden moments when content falls in your lap.

This particular piece of content came in the form of a brief email from the uncle of an individual living in Radcliff, Kentucky who caught the aforementioned goldfish, and the story had been picked up by Fox News. For both the brand manager and myself, we knew we had to jump on the opportunity of this going viral.

Casting Your Reel

When news breaks, making sure you catch the momentum and ride the wave with a timely, well crafted response can be a delicate balancing act. You want to be able to craft a message in your brand’s voice, and you want copy that will stand out above the social noise. There are a few items to consider when selecting and sharing content.

  • Storytelling – are you providing a memorable narrative that people will associate with your brand?
  • Emotion – Can your audience relate? Is this drawing out a particular feeling?
  • Community – Are other people engaging in the content? Are other people doing it?
  • Value – How is this adding to all the noise on social media? Will it help others?
  • Status – Relating to your inner narcissist. Will this make me look good?

Pro tip: Things you will want to consider:

  1. React in a timely manner
  2. Verify the content
  3. Check for trending hashtags or potential influencers
  4. Post and monitor the content.

After bouncing a few ideas around the office, we landed on some copy to complement the news story and posted the link to the facebook page. As expected, the engagement skyrocketed for the post… but my process was not done. With the help of the social team we tracked down the individual on Twitter and asked him to direct message us. By getting in contact with him we were able to get a direct quote, pictures and build rapport. We also received his contact information that we shared with the local franchise in Kentucky.

The Big Catch

Our team effort paid off in many ways. For example, our client was contacted by VICE news for a quote, and it helped to increase the number of interactions for one of our monthly contests. While monitoring who was sharing our contest post we noticed shares from the Radcliff Small Business Alliance, Inc and the Unofficial: Radcliff KY Information page which helped to increase the visibility of the post.

Vice News Lee's Famous Chicken
Source: VICE News

Of course, this is only a fraction of what a community manager does, but hopefully gave you a small glimpse of the daily workload. The sources for identifying viral content can sometimes surprise you, but the action steps should not. In the case of our giant goldfish friend, we have to believe he is out there somewhere craving a Lee’s biscuit.