Tag: phoenix start up business

3 Winning & Creative Social Media Campaigns to Learn From

by Bryan Janeczko

Every so often, my team and I will sit down and brainstorm ideas on how to deploy a successful social media campaign. Thinking up and creating a campaign is actually an enjoyable experience, maybe not picnic-at-the-park enjoyable (since there is a lot of day-to-day work: tweeting, posting, commenting, writing, sharing etc.) but it’s fun because it affords us the space to get imaginative.

Let me reveal a secret about social media: if you want to generate a sizeable amount of exposure and engagement, you must get CREATIVE. One thought-provoking and engaging Facebook post can easily trump the effectiveness of a week’s worth of lackluster tweets. Researching for our own social media campaigns, I’ve found some very innovative and consequently successful examples that I have studied and tried to learn from. Here are my three best picks:

1.The Art of Controversy: Book-Burning Hoax Saves A Library

When a local library in Troy, Michigan no longer had the funds to remain open and faced defeat as an anti-tax group fought against increasing taxes to maintain the library by posting “Vote No” signs around the neighborhood, defenders of the library decided to get creative and teamed up with advertising agency Leo Burnett Detroit to concoct an alarming “Book Burning Party” campaign.

The campaign which promoted invitations to the “party” via Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and even with street flyers first attracted an overwhelming amount of negative attention. Community residents were outraged at the ugly prospect of burning books but were immediately impressed by the creative tactic behind the campaign when they realized that this was an effort to save books, not destroy them. The result of this awareness-raising controversy? When it came time for the town to vote on increasing taxes to keep the library open, a number of people- 342% greater than expected- showed up and voted “yes.” I don’t normally recommend using hoaxes and controversy to gain attention but in this case, the point that the library’s proponents were trying to make was that their defeat would be equal in effect to a book burning party. Stirring up controversy the right way, in a smart method and for a good cause takes guts and creativity.

2. Directly Engage Them: Healthy Choice’s “Growing” Coupon

The frozen meals company Healthy Choice promoted a month long coupon where if more people “liked” them on their Facebook page then the value of the coupon offered would proportionally go up. The coupon began as a $0.75 off promotion but then developed into a “Buy one get one free” deal as their fan numbers grew from 7,000 to 60,000 and their Facebook ads had a count of 11 million impressions!

It’s clear that promotions and freebies are an effective social media tool. The ingenious way that Healthy Choice’s campaign employed this strategy was that they gave their fans a way to directly control (and therefore engage) how much value they could get for free

3. Realize Your Medium & Work With It, Not Around It: TweetPie

Last year, UK-based social media firm Umpf published “TweetPie,” a cookbook consisting only of tweet length recipes crowd sourced from the realm of the 140-characters-or-less to raise proceeds for the charity FoodCycle. To get their content, they launched a campaign with the hashtag #Tweetpie where Twitter users could pitch their short and sweet recipe ideas. The agency won a CIPR award of excellence for their creativity in “dishing” out engagement with foodies. The beautiful thing about the Tweetpie campaign is that the creators refused to see the cap on the number of characters allowed as a burden and instead tackled such a limit with the kind of innovative thinking that gets people to notice.


Bryan JaneczkoFounder, Wicked Start
Bryan has 15 years of financial and entrepreneurial experience including co-founding start-ups like Nu-Kitchen, an online food retailer. Bryan is an active board member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) and StartOut. He is dedicated to the success of all small businesses. www.wickedstart.com

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CamelBackpackers Hostel

About Amber

Amber Harrold is a disabled ARMY veteran with rank of Captain when discharged.   She is currently a Production Supervisor at the local Pepsi Bottling plant.  Her dream and passion was to open a hostel in Phoenix, Arizona where guests could enjoy budget oriented and sociable nightly accommodations.  Amber wanted to create an exciting, home-like environment that cultivates a sense of community among the guests and staff.

Amber Harrold
My Location
Phoenix, Arizona
United States

My Successes

Site preparations were started in June for a July 1st opening.  “CamelBackpackers focuses on the total experience rather than simply providing a cheap bed,” says Amber.  The two full time staff offer local knowledge and assistance to ensure that each stay is both memorable and enjoyable.
The facility is a converted single family home offering an 8 bed dorm with a private bathroom, a 6 bed dorm with a shared bathroom and one 2-4 person garden view private room with a shared bathroom.  Breakfast is included for all guests. The nightly price ranges from $30 – $45 and includes:

Bed linens and a towel    Games room and Lounge area
Free coffee and tea    Full kitchen and small shop
Free continental breakfast    24 hour hot showers
Free high speed, wireless internet and cable     Washing machines
Fax    24 hour reception, Late Check-out
Wake-up calls    Tours/Travel Desk
Free on-street parking    BBQ area
Free individual storage lockers    No curfew

“We wanted to let the neighbors know that we were opening a hostel so we invited the 75 neighbors within 5 blocks to an Open House,” says Amber.  She wanted to get ahead of any concerns and start the process of building rapport with the neighborhood residents.  Initial concerns were quickly resolved and Amber has been welcomed to the neighborhood.

Hostel guests have opportunities to socialize, make contacts, relax in common areas, and join other guests to explore the city as they wish. The common areas allow for individuals or small groups to participate in private or group activities. The main lounge offers a computer lab, movies, and a sharing library for quieter activities. The second communal area (coming soon) is for louder activities such as karaoke, Wii games, and sports viewing.

In their first week, CamelBackpackers reported 17% occupancy.  Amber says that only 8% occupancy is needed to pay the bills.  During the week of July 16th, CamelBackpackers was at 42% occupancy with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday fully booked.   Customer reviews are already running greater than 98% positive and Amber couldn’t be happier.

What’s Great About My Mentor?

She first met with Greater Phoenix SCORE Mentor Bob Salzman in November, 2011.  Bob and Amber immediately set out to craft a convincing and realistic business plan.  With Bob’s assistance the business plan was completed in December.  An SBA Patriot Express loan was obtained in June.

How SCORE Helped

Amber is very excited about her accomplishments so far, optimistic that her success will continue and looking forward to meeting all the interesting travelers that visit her hostel. Amber says. “I can’t tell you enough how thankful I am for all of Bob Salzman and Greater Phoenix SCORE’s help through the process.  I really appreciate it.  I’ve learned a lot about opening a business and the crazy process of applying for a loan.”

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The Four Firkins

Upon moving across the globe from Australia to Minnesota in 2001, Jason Alvey found himself falling hopelessly in love…with good beer.  The craft beer movement was alive and growing here in the States and Jason found himself searching for a way to share his new found passion for the good stuff with his fellow Minnesotans.  He opened his first retail location of Four Firkins in May of 2008 and just a few years later approached SCORE Minneapolis for advice on expanding their space and boosting sales.

My Successes

Under the guidance of SCORE Minneapolis mentor Rich Barkley, Four Firkins moved locations in October 2011 to a more visible storefront that’s twice the size of their old shop.   The improvements are evident; December 2011 sales soared to $180,000 – double that of December 2010!  The new store has nine employees compared with five at the previous location and they are now on pace to triple sales.

How SCORE Helped

Of SCORE, Alvey commented, “It’s absolutely incredible.  If more people knew what these guys are capable of and what they do, they wouldn’t have any free time. Their phone would be ringing off the hook.”

What’s Great About My Mentor?

“I honestly could not have done it without their help, without their insight,” said Alvey of his SCORE mentors. “We are now at a completely new level. This is a dramatic improvement, and the potential to grow this is amazing.”

Check out the Four Firkins Website: www.thefourfirkins.com

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How to Get Your Suppliers to Give You a Better Value

Written by: Acceler8 Business Advisors

Does it seem like some business owners have all the luck when it comes to their suppliers? It always seems like they’ve got a newer, better deal than what they had before. So what’s their secret? It’s all about knowing how to get your suppliers to give you the best value they possibly can—and realizing that value doesn’t always mean money.

Getting the highest value from your suppliers is the fastest and easiest way to reduce the cost of operations. Of course the term “supplier” can mean your vendors, maintenance contractor, or even your landlord. So here’s how you go about getting the best value.

  • Look over your supplier arrangements regularly so that you are always on top of what you are paying and what you are receiving for that money.
  • Talk to your suppliers about bulk or loyalty discounts or other terms for those arrangements regularly. Often buying larger quantities or signing a longer contract can make a big difference in the price you will receive.
  • Consider if you are satisfied with the quality of the goods or services you are receiving from your supplier. If not, then it’s probably time to replace them.
  • The way your suppliers manage your account also makes a big difference because if it takes too much effort on your part to get answers to your questions, then you can probably do better.
  • Don’t be afraid to choose another supplier if the one you are using won’t let you negotiate to get the terms you need.
  • When looking at ways to cut costs, be sure that you aren’t getting lower quality. Reducing the quality of your own goods or services is the fastest way to send your own customers packing.
  • Think about whether you could reduce the number of suppliers you currently use. You’re actually spending extra time dealing with multiple vendors, and if one can supply the same goods or services as the other, why not deal with the same supplier for multiple services or goods. Just remember not to put all your eggs in one or two baskets though because you could end up with the opposite problem—no one to supply those needs if those companies suddenly go out of business.
  • Look at other benefits than just saving money. Paying less for delivery or being able to extend your payment terms can be a real benefit to you down the road.
  • Examine any intangible benefits you are receiving from your supplier, like development work that they are constantly doing to be able to serve you better.
  • As your business grows, you may even need to change your suppliers altogether, especially if you intend to diversify your own offerings.
  • Look everywhere for suppliers—even if it means taking your business offshore. The marketplace is bigger than it ever was before because now you can go almost anywhere to find a deal.

Just remember that not every business owner will find value in the same places. Improving your bottom line isn’t always about the cash. Sometimes it’s about tools that will make it easier for you to do business or to reach more customers. Spend some time figuring out what the term “more value” means to you. Sometimes getting a lower price won’t mean nearly as much as having an opportunity to double the number of clients you have.

To Learn More About Acceler8, CLICK HERE!

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