How To Get A Video To Go Viral?

By Vanessa Humes

Did you catch the video of the frozen alligators? I mean, who didn’t? It reached hundreds of thousands of people across the world and grew their Facebook followers to over 12,000 likes. Just minutes down the road from ICND world headquarters in Ocean Isle Beach, NC, our clients and friends over at the Shallotte River Swamp Park took a few videos that they’ve been posting on Facebook, and all of the sudden it’s on the DailyMail and National Geographic! Who knew?

Finding the right content

Getting a video to go viral is no easy task. You have to get it filmed, post it online, and pray to the viral gods that it continues to get picked up. But once it takes off it’s going to drive brand awareness, traffic, and ultimately–Conversions.

So what’s it take to make your video go viral like that? With Social Media integrating more and more viral videos in their organic feed, it seems like something we should all be integrating into our digital marketing strategy. But how do we make our videos go viral?

Its about unique content. Generally, it takes an original idea to make it big. There’s generally some copycat attention you can get from doing a related video, but for the most part, it takes an original video. Think about the momma giraffe that was pregnant and we all watched the Youtube feed for months waiting for her to go into birth. There’s some copycats with other types of animals, but nothing that big.

Ok, now you are in the vacation rental business, you really don’t have pregnant animals you can video… But you have amazing animals in your destinations. A lot of the vacation destination is getting into the nature and seeing animals. If you go to the beach and you see dolphins swimming it’s added value to your vacation. Swimming dolphins aren’t the greatest, but jumping herds of dolphins visible from the beach that you get just the right reel of, are. So it goes back to the originality and capturing just that right moment. Have a contest with your guests, millennials love this, to share the best video of their vacation.

The other aspect of the video should strike a chord in the emotion of the viewer. It’s going to make them laugh, cry, jump out of fear, etc. Most people want to share upbeat content. Like with the alligator, it’s all about the cold-blooded reptile surviving the bitter cold weather. Something we’ve never seen or encountered in our cozy, warm homes and offices.

The content should be short, sweet, and to the point. Again, it’s going to be very spontaneous. There may be some editing needed to get there. You’ll lose more than half of your audience before a minute, so cut to the chase.

Going Viral

Once you have your content posted and you see it’s starting to take off, tag or message your local news sources. They like to share in almost any viral video for the traffic and visibility of their social media posts. Once a few local news outlets pick it up, you know you are on to something and can start reaching out to your feeder markets. Those destinations have a good population interested in your area and will likely pick it up too. And really, from there, you can tag any of the big news outlets, but they’ll probably have picked you up. At this point, not only are you online, but you’ve probably gotten some free TV media time, as well.

So managers, get your social media managers out there looking for the right content to get out there. Buy them some quick video software to spruce it up and cut it into a solid reel, and watch your social media presence soar.

3 Mistakes You’re Making With Social Media

Social media has definitely earned it’s place in the ring with the big boys when it comes to vacation rental marketing. It has allowed us to engage with audiences on a very personal level and connect with people that were outside our grasp previously. However, there are some things that social media does not do and, in some cases, it tends to get a little too much credit in the grand scheme of the digital marketing plan. Today we are going to discuss 3 mistakes you’re probably making with social media.

Mistake #1: Wanting a definitive ROI

Where’s the ROI? So many people ask, “how can I track return on investment when it comes to social media?” Well the answer to that question is, stop making that your priority. Social media was never intended to make big conversions in the realm of digital marketing. Not to say it can’t, but don’t force it. Remember that people engage on social media to be social, not buy something. Constantly pushing products and promotions on someone will only make them disengage and eventually unfollow you.

Instead, use your social channels to promote your brand as a whole and let the consumer decide whether or not they want to purchase from you. This is a hard step for most marketers out there because we have to let the consumer decide, it would be easier if we could just make the decision for them! However, when you use your social channels as branding tools instead of sales tools, you begin to attract people that will relate to your brand and in turn, your products.

Mistake #2: All Eggs Go Into that Facebook Basket

Facebook isn’t everything. When I say social media most people think of Facebook. Just to be fair, Facebook does hold an extremely large audience when it comes to the Vacation Rental Industry and they have made it very simple to engage with that audience but don’t think that Facebook is the only thing out there. There are several other social channels that most people do not use that can be extremely valuable and require less upkeep than Facebook.

Pinterest is a great example. Also, you don’t have to worry about nasty comments with Pinterest because most people get on for ideas and, let’s face it, to waste a little time. The audience on Pinterest is about 85% women ranging from all ages which is perfect for VR. It also allows you to build a following and engage with others. Definitely worth checking out in our books!

Screenshot of Pinterest

Another great undiscovered gem is YouTube. Video has become one of the main sources of content in today’s world which is why you should be investing time and energy into YouTube. It is also a part of the Google family and can help with your organic SEO ranking. So basically you’re killing two birds with one stone.

Image of YouTube

These are just two examples of a very large list and once you start thinking about social media as branding, you will begin to see how you fit into virtually all social channels.

Mistake #3: Not Knowing Your Audience

Audience, audience, audience! Don’t forget who your audience is. I have seen so many social campaigns fail because the person behind the account forgot who their audience was. A tactic that can be useful is to create a persona. A persona is an outline of your perfect consumer and can be extremely helpful when you’re planning your next social campaign. Especially when you’re neck deep in graphics and statistics and you forget why you started the campaign in the first place, we have all been there, done that.

Everything you talk about and promote should in some way relate to that audience. Guaranteed, if you do this you will see a huge impact across your social channels.

Overall, don’t treat your followers like a number. Your fans want to be known as individuals and if you engage with them and show them that you care about their interests, it will have a tremendous impact on how they perceive you as a company. And if all this seems a little too much, ICND is here for you and we have years of experience managing social channels and would love to point you in the right direction.



Facebook Live : Successful Business Tactics



Facebook Live


Are you looking to improve your social media engagement? Live streaming may be your key. Last year, apps like snapchat and periscope grew in rapid popularity. Other brands started to jump on the live streaming bandwagon. Facebook has now integrated this feature. You can integrate this into your vacation rental marketing plan and stay ahead of your competition.

Facebook lets you broadcast in real time. You don’t need fancy equipment, no hours of editing the material, and the live video option is built right into Facebook. The need for extra apps is gone. Just open the Facebook home page of your Profile or Page, click on the “status” button at the top, and choose the Live video icon.

Live streaming is all about connecting and interacting with your audience. It creates a personal presence that traditional videos don’t convey. It gives your customers a behind the scenes look on how beautiful your properties are and the amenities that make your properties special. You can tease your customers with how beautiful the weather is, or new properties that will be available to rent soon.

Customer service is an integral part of any business. Chances are, you get emailed and asked the same questions over and over. It is very important to answer every single question, even if it has been repeated several times.
For example, you can live stream a FAQ session. When you are finished it creates an archive that you can share with your customers and customer service team alike, so everyone is on the same page.

Below, are some tips of how you can utilize Facebook Live:

•Tell fans when you’re broadcasting ahead of time.Show the fans what they are missing by showcasing the scenic aspects of your area.

•Poll the audience : ask them what they like about your company and what you can improve upon. This is your chance to assess your strengths and weaknesses
•Asks viewers to subscribe to live notifications

•Say hello to commenters! Respond to their comments live!

•Share a success story

With Facebook live, you have the potential to reach everyone who follows you on Facebook. Give your customers the live experience, and show them who you really are! You can instantly respond to their comments, and see their reactions.

The $1 Facebook Ad Trick

One dollar facebook ad
First and Foremost, this is not really a “trick”.  Anytime you try to game the system in internet marketing, you’re going to get caught and there will be consequences.  Today’s topic is about uncovering a really unique opportunity using Facebook ads that not many people know about.
Before we get into the secret sauce, lets talk about – Why Facebook?
  • 93% of adult US internet users in the US use Facebook.  (Source:  BlogHer)
  • 25% of all US web traffic is Facebook. (Source:  Hitwise)
That’s big!  There’s no doubt about it that Facebook is the dominant player not only in social media but in total time spent online.  Your clients are there and this is your best opportunity to reach them for very little cost.
As you decide to start using Facebook ads, the first thing you need to do is:
  1. Define your goals.  Do you want more “likes” on your page?  Do you want website traffic?  Do you want engagement and reach of your posts?  This will help you define the type of ad you will use and who you will be targeting.
  2. Choose a daily budget.  We recommend to start with a daily budget no lower that $10/day for 3 months to really see some great results.
Once you define your goals, you’ll be choosing your ad types and targeting.  This gets pretty exciting to see what you can do.  What are all of the different types of ads on Facebook?
  1. Page Post Ads – Boost likes, comments and shares on individual posts that you make on your page.
  2. Create ads that target non-fans and increase the number of people who like your page.
  3. Clicks to website – create ads that direct people off of Facebook and onto your website.  If you use the "Website Conversions" option, you will need to setup a "pixel conversion tracking code"
*There are 3 others that are not relevant so we won’t go into them.


Relevancy is KEY!  The smaller more targeted audiences will perform best, but will be a smaller audience and cost more to reach.

15 Ad Targeting Options:

1-4. You must target 1 or more counties – (only required targeting option)
Location: Country/City/Zip Code + radius from city/zip.  Targets by where they are physically located AND the address listed in their profile.
5/6.  Age/Gender – Self explanatory here.  You can also target people with a birthday in the coming week.
TIP – Don't select "Require exact age match" unless absolutely necessary – it’s cheaper if you leave this unchecked.
7/8.  Precise Interest & Broad Category targeting: Reach people based on interests and information in their profile.
EXAMPLE: If you own a pet store in Myrtle Beach, you'd use precise targeting to reach people who own pets in Myrtle Beach; you'd use broad targeting to reach people in Myrtle Beach who are interested in animals.
  • You CAN target both precise interests AND broad categories at the same time – this will shrink your potential audience by only targeting people who fall under both. 
  • You CAN target more than 1 precise interests and broad category at the same time – this will expand your potential audience by targeting people who fall under all of the selected interests and categories.
  • Hashtags expand your interest targeting: #Cooking lets you reach people who are interested in cooking, cooking tips, and cooking and eating.
9/10.  Connections – You must be an admin of the page/group/event but you can target only people who like – or only people who don't like the page/group/event. Target "friends of connections"
  11-15.  Advanced Targeting:
  • Interested In: This allows a business to target Facebook users according to the gender they are interested in for a friendship, dating, a relationship or networking.
  • Relationship Status: This allows a business to target Facebook users that are married, single, engaged, or in a relationship.
  • Languages: This targeting option is best used when targeting an audience that speaks a language that is different from most of the people in the targeted geography.
  • Education: This option enables the targeting of Facebook users that are in high school, college, or a college graduate. Businesses can also target Facebook users that went to a specific school, study a specific topic, or for current college students, their expected graduation date.
  • Workplaces: Targeting Facebook users by where they work can be useful in various B2B, job search, and industry specific scenarios.
*Custom Audiences – Using email addresses, phone numbers or Facebook user IDS; you can target specific people on Facebook.
Expert Tip: Custom Audience Targeting allows you to upload your email list. *Combine this targeting with an exclusive "offer" to see BIG returns.
Facebook Ad Targeting
Next we should discuss the tool that you should be using to run these ads.  There is only 1 that I will recommend and it’s free.  It’s called the “Power Editor”.  This is a Chrome plugin that is linked inside of the Facebook advertising center and built by Facebook.

So let’s talk about the $1 Facebook Ad Trick!

It’s well published on the web that an average Facebook page will only reach about 6% of their fans with posts.  So this trick is aimed to help you reach 100% of your fans with just $1/day!  How?
  1. First, I’m going to assume you know how to use the power editor and you know the basics of how Facebook ads work.
  2. Once you’re in the power editor and have downloaded your ads, we’re going to create a new campaign setting a budget of $2/day running it “continuously”.
  3. Next, you’ll need to create an “Adset” and then create an ad (placing it in the adset and campaign you just created).
  4. When creating your ad you need to select “Page Post Engagement” under the objective, select “For a Facebook Page using a post”, select your page from the drop-down, select “Automatically promote most recent post”, and choose “All Facebook” for placement.
·         News Feed only posts will perform better but will also be more expensive.
  1. Next, under audience, you just need to target fans of your page.
  2. Lastly, under “Optimization & Pricing”, choose the CPM method and bid $1.00 no matter what the suggested bid says.
  3. Click “UPLOAD CHANGES” and wait for your ad to be approved.
I’ve presented on this topic so if you’d prefer to view it, you can follow along here:
I hope that this blog helps you better understand how Facebook advertising works and provides an easy to follow break down to run your own “$1 Facebook Ad Campaign”.  If you need any assistance running Facebook ads for your business, we’d love to talk with you and help you with all of your internet marketing needs.

About the author: David Hutnik is the Social Media Director at InterCoastal Net Designs where they specialize in web design, search engine optimization, email marketing, social media and more. For more information about vacation rental internet marketing, check out our free downloads.

Google Plus Changes That Affect Your Strategy As A Vacation Rental Manager

Google Plus

Have you dedicated any time or resources to Google+? If you have for your business, chances are you still don't spend a significant amount of time on Google+ personally. Well there has been a lot of recent news about changes on Google+ so I'll take a few minutes to explain them and how they will impact the vacation rental industry.


First, the recent changes:

  1. It was reported that 1,000 – 1,200 employees that formed the core Google+ team are being moved to other divisions such as Hangouts and Android; and the photos team is likely to follow.
  2. Vic Gundotra, a Google employee who has led the Google+ initiative from the very beginning, has left the company. A Google vice president, David Besbris, will be taking over on the Google+ project.


Why I believe Google+ wasn't a bigger success:

Google+ was built to solve a problem for Google – they didn't have the social data information that Facebook had. Their solution was to build an extremely similar product to Facebook and integrate it with all of the other Google products you use: Youtube, Chrome, Gmail, etc… This may have started to solve their problem, but it didn't really solve anything for the common user. That's why it wouldn't last.

Google's previous mission to force Google+ into all of their other products will soon end and that is for the better, most users did not approve of this.


Is Google+ going away?

No, not anytime soon that I can see. Although, this isn't the first "social" experiment. Does anyone remember "Google Buzz" or "Google Wave"? Well, they were slowly depreciated and I can see that on the horizon for Google+ as well.  Don't abandon all your efforts here just yet!


So what's next?

I haven't completely gotten rid of all Google+ strategy for businesses in the vacation rental industry. At the current time, there is still reason to keep your profile semi active, create an optimized presence if you haven't already, and merge your local page with your Google+ business page. There's also still a lot of value in authorship and publisher tags being used because they show your profile photo directly in the search results of Google. This provides significantly increased click thru rates.

I've been reallocating some of the resources that were spent on Google+ to build more Pinterest and Instagram content.  It's all about prioritizing the amount of time that you have in the right place to reach the right audience. Find out where your clients are (other than Facebook) and engage with them.


I hope this helps you understand a little bit about the recent changes on Google+. If you have any suggestions for another topic on social media, leave a comment below or send me an email at:

About the author: David Hutnik is the Social Media Director at InterCoastal Net Designs where they specialize in web design, search engine optimization, email marketing, social media and more.

Helping Clients reach 100,000 Facebook Fans!



The Intercoastal Net Designs team is excited to showcase one of our biggest success stories. Myrtle Beach Resort Vacations started a social media campaign with us back in December of 2012 with around 1,300 Facebook fans. Here we are just 14 months later at over 100,000 Fans and a very active community on Facebook for Myrtle Beach Resort.


How'd we do it?

A lot of credit needs to go to the Myrtle Beach Resort team led by general manager Paul Williams.  It's much easier to promote a page on Facebook where the property is maintained nicely and the staff treats customers so great.  We piggy backed this customer service by reaching out to the fans and friends of fans with engaging posts and the page spread virally over the course of the first few months.  We ran some great promotions and contests as well as mixing in some email marketing to promote the Facebook page.


It’s exciting to take a page in “hibernation mode” as I like to call it and really bring it to life.  When you take over a Facebook page with 1,300 fans, this means that someone really put forth some good effort to get there.  But at the time of taking it over, fans were not as engaged and the posting had slowed down a bit.  We saw an immediate increase in engagement on the page as we posted more frequently.  Then we began to mix in our other strategies and the amplified growth of fans and engagement was exponential.




Are you interested in seeing some social media results for your business? Get in touch with the ICND team today to schedule a free consultation and social media audit!

The Pragmatic Approach for Targeting Vacationer Demographics

The vacation rental industry is an 85 billion dollar industry with virtually every demographic planning a dream vacation, year after year. A majority of vacation rental managers often realize too late about vacant inventory. Focused solely on families (or vice versa) this late realization leads to last minute price slashing with mixed results. Wouldn’t it be nice each year to be ahead of the curve and guarantee a larger percentage of bookings?

Studies have shown (Framingham Heart Study) that men who regularly vacation are 32% less likely to die of heart related illnesses compared to men who do not take a regular vacation. What’s worse is that women who don’t vacation twice a year are 8 times MORE likely to suffer from a heart related illness. These studies reinforce the notion that happier, healthier people across the board, know that rest and relaxation are vital to their health.

The question is: are you capturing every demographic the correct way? 


Today’s marketing tools make it easier than ever to target specific demographics:

Facebook Targeted Ads– Facebook ads have come a long way in terms of targeting. Users of Facebook today are revealing more and more information within their own profiles that Facebook has tactfully gained access to who each user is. If one bedroom condos are a large part of your inventory still in stock, the ability to create an ad specifically toward those in relationships with less than 2 children as well as including the unmarried and married with less than 2 children, ensures that those in your target segment are the only ones who are viewing such an ad.

Facebook Post Targeting– Did you know you can cater a post to specific demographics? Much like Facebook ads, specific post targeting allows you to display certain posts to current fans that you wish to capture. Suppose there are a number of units you’d like to see booked for an upcoming weekend. Depending on your vacation rental price points, wouldn’t it make sense to target to those solely within a day’s drive? Creating a targeted post highlighting this facet has the potential to yield higher results.


Segmented E-mails– Does your company use departure questionnaires? If not, it might be time to consider implementing them. Gathering as much information on former clients can help determine location, time of year and frequency of their vacation habits.

PPC– Google, the mother ship of all things related to targeting. It should be of no surprise that Google knows everything about you. Whether you use their browser, (Chrome) or simply use Google searches on a daily basis, the fact remains that they are keeping tabs on your search history and figuring out with great detail, who you are. The power of this information is outstanding. One of the tools marketers have at their hands is Pay Per Click Ads. Incorporating a well-timed and concentrated PPC campaign not only increases views but can also show you in a variety of facets where you may be failing in converting actual sales.

Demographic information is one of the most vital aspects to understanding your business. With comprehensive research within your own buyers’ history as well as carefully executed targeting measures, the ability to capture and retain audiences has never been stronger. Utilization of these targeting tools can propel your company’s overall performance.

Pinterest Features that Vacation Rental Managers Can't Live Without

Pinterest is buzzing through everyone’s feed on a weekly basis it seems, but have you really taken the time to see how YOUR business can leverage this network?

First, let’s set the tone for where Pinterest stacks up to the other social media sites.

  • 70 Million Users
  • 60% Female
  • 20% of all US women

With all of the buzz around this new social network, it’s important to note that it is still NOT a dominant platform, however, there are some great features to leverage as a Vacation Rental that I’d like to showcase here along with ideas on how you can utilize them.  ICND was glad to contribute this article previously to Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA).


#1: Pinterest added an incredible new feature November 2013 called “Place Pins”. This allows you to pinpoint key places around the town with a map shown in the background. You can create this for local restaurants, beach access and other highlights of your town to help your vacationers enjoy a great trip. You can embed these into your website as well to keep visitors on-site, allowing you to be a resource to others.  Example:

Read all about how to create these “Place Pins” for yourself in our blog on Pinterest Place Pins


#2: Pin-It Buttons: You can add a button to your blogs or other content on your site that makes it easy for users to “Pin” from your website. You can also add a “hover button” so that as visitors on your website hover their mouse over a photo, the “Pin-it” button appears and they will be able to pin easily. This “hover button” is nice because it is easy to add (depending on how your website is programmed and what access you have) and it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your website design. –


#3: Product Pins (Add Pricing and Description to your Vacation Rentals):  This requires a web developer to help you but adding some code to your website can allow Pinterest to pull pricing, description, availability, location and property name with your vacation rentals pictures when they are pinned.  –


#4: Promoted Pins:  These are brand new and not available for everyone at this time. You can apply to have this feature but it depends on your budget.

– As Pinterest describes, they are “Tasteful, Transparent and Relevant…” so you can anticipate them not being annoying and hopefully targeted to your interests.  For VRMs, this means that you can target your rentals through Pinterest to users who pin vacation destinations, located in target regions and fall into the demographics you’d like to reach.  Keep an eye on this feature as it continues to be developed in 2014.

Pinterest Adds New "Place Pins"

Pinterest added a great new feature this last week called "Place Pins".  We're going to show you some examples of different ways that you can use this new feature and how to set it up yourself.


How To Create a "Place Pins" Board

First, let me walk you through the process of setting this up yourself.  It's verys simple if you already have a Pinterest account, you just go to the upper right corner where your name is and click on the "+" sign.  This will display a drop-down allowing you to "Create a Board"


Next, you will need to name your board and give it a description.  Keep in mind SEO friendly keywords when naming your boards and giving them a good description.  Also, it's very important that you select to "Add a Map"; this is what makes it a new Places Pinboard.


Now that you've created your board, you will add your first place.  I recommend that you add you place of business (if it fits into you new board category) last.  By adding your business last, it will ensure that your business comes up at the top on the list when you are on your board.


Be sure to add a lot of places to your pinboard!  Just select the "Add a Place" button to keep adding more.


Ways to Use This Feature!

This is a great new feature to use!  If you're a vacation rental company, you can showcase all of the local hotspots and point out some of the places only locals know about.  For example, that beach access where your car WON'T get towed and it's not as crowded.  You know that local burger joint that has incredible food but most tourists don't know about it?  What about the best place to rent equipment from?  You are the local expert concierge and this is your opportunity to share with other Pinterest users!

Here is an example Vacation Rental Company in Ocean Isle Beach, NC using this feature already.

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

It seems like the holidays start coming earlier and earlier every year. You can walk into a store in October, and see Christmas decorations. Here at ICND we waited until November 1st to start really pushing our holiday marketing campaigns.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are great times to take a vacation. ICND has been helping our vacation rental clients target renters for the holidays for many years. There are numerous ways you can put a holiday spin on your marketing campaign!

Email Marketing Send out an eblast dedicated to holiday events in your area, encouraging people to come stay for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any time in between. Encourage them to make new traditions. Eblasts are a great way to have fun, and talk to your potential guests from their view point. Paint a picture that they would want to be a part of. Talk straight to them. “Who wouldn’t want to wake up with a view of a ski resort on Christmas morning?” or “Take a walk on the beach after your big Thanksgiving meal!” Keep it short and sweet. 

Website Edits– If you have a large rotating banner on your website, why not have a holiday relevant one designed? That way people will get the holiday feel as soon as they land on your homepage. Or how about adding some Christmas lights or a santa hat to your logo? Have fun with it! ICND’s marketing and graphic design team can help you come up with fun ideas to fit the look and feel of your company.

Holiday Specials– Everyone is always looking for a deal. Let them know that staying with you for the holidays is more affordable than they might think.

Social Media Designs- It is always good to rebrand your social media pages every 3-6 months. Giving it a new look and feel is an easy and inexpensive way to keep your guests intrigued. ICND often rebrands our Social Media client Facebook and Twitter pages during the holiday season. A festive way to grab peoples attention! 

Don’t let a marketing opportunity slip through your fingers. Regardless of the time period of your in season, the holidays are a great time to increase bookings!

Looking for more holiday marketing tips? Contact your account rep, or today!