Editor’s note: This week, PR Daily reported on New York Times tech columnist David Pogue proposing to his girlfriend—Silicon valley PR exec Nicki Dugan—through a video that went viral. A young PR pro shared his similar story with us.
My fiancée loves to personalize her possessions; nearly everything she owns is monogrammed. So when I decided to ask her to marry me, I knew I had to do something unique and creative to personalize the proposal.
After racking my brain for weeks, I decided to ask her favorite band, Relient K, to make her a personal video that could lead into my popping the question.
While it was a great idea, I quickly realized there was one tiny problem: I had to figure out how to get the band on board. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of the band members on speed dial, and I knew showing up on their doorstep would probably lead to a restraining order. So I turned to Twitter, set up a new account handle (@HelpMeRelientK) specifically for this purpose, and began tweeting to the band.
Along the way, I learned a few things about getting noticed on Twitter:
Creativity is a double-edge sword
A few years ago, my proposal idea would have been a pipe dream. Luckily, one of great things about Twitter is it enables us to interact with people who are out of reach—like a famous band.
The downside to Twitter’s offering this connectivity is that everyone is trying to get noticed. This means you have to stand out with your tweets just to break through the clutter.
To make myself stand out from the crowd, I incorporated lyrics from the band’s songs into some of my tweets. For example, the band has a song with the line, “Marilyn Manson ate my girlfriend,” so instead I tweeted to them, “Marilyn Manson did NOT eat my girlfriend! Help me propose to her! All I need is a 30 sec video.”
I also knew from their tweets that the band was recording a new album at the time, so I also referenced this to show the band I was tuned in to their timeline.
Consistency is key
When it comes to getting noticed on Twitter, I found consistency to be just as important as creativity. At the beginning of my social media campaign, I was tweeting at the band once a day, hoping this would be enough. I soon realized it wasn’t. When hundreds of people are tweeting at a person or brand, it’s easy for a single tweet to get lost in the mix.
After a few days of not hearing back from anyone in the band, I upped the ante to three or four tweets a day. Not only did this tactic increase the chance of one of my tweets being seen, but also it showed the band that I was determined to get their help (or that I had a lot of free time on my hands).
Research does wonders
Even after increasing the number of creative tweets I sent each day, I still had no luck. At this point, I assumed that either the band had pegged me as a stalker who needed to be avoided at all costs, or I simply still had not optimized my chances of getting noticed.
I started looking more carefully at my target audience (the band) and picked up on a few things. For example, I realized their account was merely a talking head that never interacted with anyone, so I shifted my focus to tweeting to the individual band members. I even took it one step further by studying their tweets to learn what times of day they were active on Twitter. I then scheduled my tweets for these times in hopes of catching one of them while they were checking their Twitter feeds.
Shortly after I combined strategic timing with creativity and consistency in my tweets, the band’s guitarist sent me a direct message with his email address so I could pass along a more detailed message.
And finally, 22 days and 39 tweets later, the band granted my wish for a personalized video to my girlfriend that segued into my proposal. Needless to say, she was blown away, and most important, she said “yes.”
Adam Bowers is a senior public relations major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is an intern at RLF Communications, a full-service public relations firm in Greensboro, N.C.