Viral Marketing Initiatives for Food Allergy Awareness Week

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FoodAllergyAwarenessRibbonWhen we in the food allergy community hear the word viral our minds may go to colds, stomach bugs, or any other number of ailments, but everyone else may be thinking about a funny video, a new dance, or maybe a little girl nicknamed Mayhem that makes dresses out of paper. That she also suffers from food allergies is just secondary and doesn’t stand out to most.

Most content that goes viral in the food allergy community goes viral for the wrong reasons like the Dana family that was removed from a flight because of nut allergies recently. Or the unexpected death of a child or young adult that didn’t have an epi-pen close at hand. These stories infuriate us and pull at our heart strings because we all secretly fear these same things.

Know one can predict if a blog post or video will go viral. There are certain aspects of content that does go viral that stand out and can be highlighted to increase the chances of your content going viral, but don’t necessarily guarantee it.

We do know that emotion is one of the big reasons that anything goes viral. Whether it’s positive or negative if a video or blog message brings out strong emotions it encourages us to share it with friends and anyone else who will listen.

Humanize your content and make it relatable to large group of people. We’ve all been frustrated at the lack of safety in restaurants, brands that change ingredients without notice, or even just a boss that drives us nuts. We can all relate to some or all of these issues and would love to read an experience that either makes us laugh at the crazy things people do or confirms our belief that we’re not the only one struggling.

Maybe the content was useful to us. It stresses a really important issue or message, gave us support or ideas on how to approach a certain situation, or even a new recipe that everyone in the house can eat, or gave us a new approach to a stressful event like the Teal Pumpkin Project and Halloween.

Memorable is another big one for viral content. Whether a video puts a smile on your face or brings a tear to your eye it spoke to you in some way and sticks with you just like the Face Your Risk video did for me the first time I saw it. Not being there when our loved ones have a reaction is a big fear of mine and hopefully I’m not the only one. This video was a reminder of the importance of little things like making sure you know what’s in the food every time even if it drives the host crazy, and always wearing a medical alert bracelet.

Last, but certainly the most important, is make it easy to share. If you want to see your content get passed around by others increasing the chances of it going viral make sure you have social media buttons on your video, blog post, or recipe page so that if others find it relatable or memorable or important in any way they can share it with others.

With food allergy awareness week this is our chance to spread the word and sport those teal ribbons. If you have something amazing to share get it out there and encourage everyone to share it with their friends, family and followers. The same goes for you reading this post. If you see something amazing about food allergies or any topic that truly speaks to you don’t hesitate to share it. If you thought it was helpful or memorable in any way someone else may find it helpful too.

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How to Use Social Media Allergy Friendly Style

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If you haven’t noticed, several of my recent blogs have been focused on social media. I’ve been working on my masters degree and thought a social media class would be great to not only help me with the Allergy Friendly site and blog, but also as a marketing professional. After several weeks of reading, discussion, and research I wanted to share what’s stood out the most for me in my social media class and what’s helped the Allergy Friendly site the most:

SCULPTURE & ART

Blogging

  • Voice –  It’s really important to use a consistent voice throughout your blog. When I decided I wanted to blog I looked at a lot of my favorites blogs and the style they wrote in. Most were easy to read because of the writers laid back, friendly style. This was the voice I wanted to use in my blog so I try to treat it like I’m talking to my friends, but still have a serious tone at times when subject requires it.
  • Focus – Pick a topic you’re passionate about and have a lot to share. My husband’s allergies have changed our life in many ways. I keep a list of all the little allergy related issues that come up in our life or that might make a good blog post and scroll through the list when I’m struggling on what to talk about in a new blog post. Other times there is something that has affected our life in that particular week that has really stood out in my mind, like when his coworkers moved their lunch meeting to an allergy friendly restaurant so he could join them.
  • Frequency – I’ve already failed on this one, but am trying to make amends to my loyal followers. Consistency is key or you’ll start losing followers and relevancy on whatever topic you’re focused on. I was pretty consistent with posts on my blog until my husband got sick during the holidays in 2013. Honestly I should have been blogging about this experience and the many tests that were run to rule out more allergies and other possibilities, but I was so worried about what they would or wouldn’t find I couldn’t even think about anything else and I didn’t blog for months as a result. He’s fine now by the way. No new allergies, but more changes in his diet.

Twitter

  • Choose your followers wisely – Follow other experts and bloggers talking about the same or similar subjects, or even your competitors. The more active they are the better; more relevant information to share with your followers.
  • Sharing on Social Media – Being active on social media doesn’t take much. Share, like, Tweet, Retweet, and favorite anything that you find interesting or relevant to your blogs focus. Those you follow like to see their links Retweeted and shared and will return the favor, and your followers will enjoy seeing different perspectives as well. If you need some help getting up and running on Twitter, pick up Mark Schaefer’s Tao of Twitter.

Google+

  • Opportunity awaits on Google+ – There are more people using Google+ than you think and the positives of sharing your blog posts on Google+ are plenty. More discussion happens here and Google+ posts show up in Google searches higher than any other social media. If you want your blog to be found by more new followers you must, at a minimum, be sharing your blog posts on Google+. If you need some direction on Google+ get your hands on a copy of Chris Brogan’s Google+ for Business or Guy Kawasaki’s What the Plus.

Managing Social Media

  • 20 minute management – Don’t be afraid of management tools like HootSuite, TweetDeck, or Seesmic. These tools can save you so much time getting your blogs and other content out there consistently and across all of your social media platforms. Twenty minutes and you can schedule tweets and posts of your current blog posts, past posts, and other valuable content for an entire week like these amazing allergy friendly sugar cookies, perfect for Halloween treats. This frees up the rest of your week to share other content you’re reading, or thoughts on your blogs focus in general.

As I share more about my husbands food allergies and our challenges as a family I get more feedback from followers that makes it all feel worthwhile. I know at least someone is getting value out of what I’m sharing, which was the whole point of starting Allergy Friendly. If I’ve shared something you loved, please let me know. If there’s something specific you’d like me to talk about, please share that as well. Any other advice you’d give for someone new to blogging or social media?