- Chantez et vous trouverez votre chanson -

Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.
     -George Bernard Shaw

It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves- in finding themselves.
      -Andre Gide

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tretorn - Social Media done right

It started with a Facebook request. Will you please 'like' this picture of me with the Tretorn bear? I want to win a ski weekend!

It ended with a new customer. I'm now in love with my Tretorn Skerry Reslig Vinter rain boots. So much so that I wear them even when it's not raining.

There are so many ways to reach customers in today's world. Straight up sales, advertising, public relations, and now the newest tactic to join the party, social media. Working in a boutique PR agency, many start-ups and small businesses come to us curious about creating an online presence and building relationships with customers through email newsletter programs, blogging, Facebook, Twitter...the list goes on. I don't claim to be a bonafide expert on the subject - my clients have smaller budgets, so I'm typically researching ideas for wall posts, gaining followers and deciding which blogs to partner with for giveaways, not creating new i-pad applications or anything crazy. But I do find the topic really interesting. Social media is constantly evolving, and sometimes it works incredibly well, and other times it doesn't do much to bolster a company's image. There doesn't seem to be a direct formula for it.

As a publicist, I'm not supposed to fall for social media tactics (Unless it's my client! In that case, I push them on every single person I know...), but I fell right into Tretorn's lap, and their Swedish goodness worked its way right into my heart.

I had never heard of the company before my friend sent me a Gchat message directing me to 'like' Tretorn on Facebook, find her picture on their page posing with the bear mascot, and 'like' the image. Apparently, whoever got the most people to 'like' the page and their picture with the bear would win a ski weekend in VT/CO/somewhere equally mountainous and cool. I did as I was told (as long as she guaranteed that I was invited on said weekend). Suddenly I was getting updates from Tretorn, a Swedish line of outdoorsy gear in my daily Facebook newsfeed. I could've just 'unliked' them and stopped receiving updates after the contest ended (my friend did not win sadly), but I enjoyed the updates. Turned out they had some pretty cute rain boots and gear, and Natalie Portman was photographed wearing them, and the company drove a Wellie Wagon truck around San Francisco and sold boots on the street. Kind of awesome!

The rainbow colored collection of rain boots made rainy days seem bright and fun and the images of the Wellie Wagon all over SF gave me my daily hit of wanderlust. Soon I saw an announcement for a site wide SALE. Those 4 little letters really call out to me. It was on. I clicked through to the site and found an adorable pair of tall olive green rain boots that were lightly lined and perfect for the cold rainy days of late winter/early spring. They were just $35 on sale! Done and done. Who needs Hunter boots anyway?

My Skerry Reslig Vinter boots arrived about a month and a half ago, and I've already worn them at least a dozen times. Even if it's just cloudy and gray out, I find it acceptable to wear them. And there you have it - Tretorn gained a new fan and customer, all through a Facebook contest.

Social media hard at work.

Just like riding a bike...

In an effort to instill some zen minimalist principles into my life, I recently sold my car. My first car - the only car I've ever owned. Ahhh the Silver Fox. My parents bought me the lightly used Chevrolet Cavalier Coupe for my 17th birthday - they paid the down payment, but I was expected to make payments, and it was a proud moment when I paid it off my senior year of college.

Over the past year, the car became more stressful than helpful, though. Drowning in insurance payments, parking tickets, and maintenance work as the car aged, it was time to get rid of the old girl. She went to a good home of a new college girl in Staten Island - I felt like Andy donating his toys in Toy Story 3!

Sans car, it's been back to the drawing board. I'm lucky to live in NYC, a city where it's easy to rely on mass transit. Granted, it may take twice as long to get somewhere by subway as it would driving...but there's always traffic and parking issues anyway. My use for the car had more to do with weekend drives to the beach and visits home to Pittsburgh...I'll live.

My minimalist move of selling the car made me want to buy something else, though - a bicycle! The number of bikes on the road grows exponentially in New York as the temperature rises. As spring approached, cyclists were everywhere and I so badly wanted to be one. One small problem - I'm semi-petrified of riding a bike in the city. I've seen delivery boys get "doored" and flatlined on the road and I've known friends that flipped over their handlebars on potholes.

How's a girl like me supposed to survive? The last time I seriously rode my bike was on the Moraine State Park trails and through my surburban neighborhood in middle school. It's silly, but as the years have gone by, I've gotten more and more nervous to ride again, especially in my new urban surroundings. But, I'm willing to learn and I WILL learn this year. I checked out a bike shop near my apartment, googled my options...and ended up buying a $40 no-name beater mountain bike. It's metallic pink and the seat is a bit ripped up. Just my style (ha). It absolutely doesn't fit in my apartment, but I'm making it work.

Despite its faults, this bike is going to train me to ride again...it's my starter bike. I'm going to outfit it with a sturdy quick release basket up front for my stud muffin puppy dog Marlon and start by taking quick trips to Astoria Park and back. I hope to eventually work up the courage to bike through Manhattan or perhaps out to the beach, saving myself from an annoying LIRR commute. And if I end up really liking it, I'll save up for a nice commuter bike next year.

For anyone else out there interested - but apprehensive - of getting a bike and learning to ride in the city, I just found a really cool organization, Bike New York. They have *FREE* classes to help people adjust to bike commuting, learn to ride (for kids and adults), and understand traffic laws and your rights as a cyclist. Plus they host fun riding programs and events. I'm so amped for warm weather and excited to not feel pathetic hopping on a bike anymore!

I'll keep you posted on my progress!