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April Fool’s Updated for the Social Media Age!

Social media sharingDoes 3D Radio work?*  This was one of the best April Fools released last year.  If you are reading this post before April 1st 2012 then you are in luck.  Because this means that you have the chance to conceive, create and distribute your own April Fool publicity campaign.  And the advent of free Social Media sharing means that even small businesses can now compete on a level playing field with the big media owners – providing you have a creative idea that deserves sharing!

What made the 3D story so good is that is kind of has a ring of plausibility and it was released by none other than the BBC with a relevant looking 3D logo and good copy.  But within your own Market or Industry; you most probably have the credibility and insider knowledge to put together a plausible April Fool campaign. So for example, if you sell, carpet tiles; why not create a release that suggested you have a limited supply of self-cleaning carpets in from China that you never need to Hoover again.  Take a picture or two showing dirt being poured over a carpet and the same carpet just a minute later with no stain.  Obviously, this is a second piece of carpet and you will have used good old “camera trickery”, or Photoshop, if you know how.  Write some Social Media style copy, then simply wait for Midnight on March 31st and release your prank on to the Internet. Perhaps you could use Twitter, Facebook, Flikr or even on a Blog.  Then get ready to receive the comments. With luck some people will ring in or make a comment and either:

  1. Complain that it is impossible
  2. Try to buy it
  3.  Share it on Social Media

If someone does complain, 99% of the public will laugh when they hear they have been caught and you can then engage them in a sales patter or at least take their contact details for when they might need carpet tiles.  If they want to buy it, the again you can explain and use it as an excuse to sell them good quality carpet tiles that are stain resistant.  Clearly they are interested in that feature and want to buy carpet tiles!  If someone does share your April Fool on Social Media this could lead to something interesting.  Perhaps even a viral success.

Obviously, the example of Carpet Tiles is just that.  An example.  But I believe that any small business owner could find similar angles if they think about it for long enough.  I find a round of drinks with work colleagues usually helps the creative process! The point is that good April Fools jokes take some planning – so you might as well start today.

Right now, I am working on an April Fool campaign for a local charity that I expect to go viral.  It is funny and unexpected for what has traditionally been a conservative, even po faced charity. Obviously, I can’t tell you about it now, but I will write up the lessons and successes or otherwise after April 1st.  In planning terms, I have already written the short copy and I have  started to “seed” Social Media sites with some background information about the charity.  For example, that it is their 40th Anniversary and that they desperately need to find a new way of raising funds and are exploring new ideas   Curiously, the more serious minded your particular business appears to be, the more likely that an April Fool campaign will work.  So watch this space!

*No it doesn’t!