First, Get a Tattoo

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Over the course of a quarter century, I’ve never produced a PR or Marketing Campaign which included a tattoo. From the moment Deborah Hansen announced her intention, I knew it was the perfect event to launch her Komen North Florida Affiliate Dance for the Cure campaign.

The charity event was conceived to raise awareness for breast cancer in our region. 9 teams of a star and dance professional training for months to compete in a ballroom dance competition. The stars competed in the area of fundraising. Deborah had plenty of ideas for growing a following along the way. The best and most inspiring was to share the process of getting her first tattoo. As Deborah explained:

"I had been thinking about getting a tattoo for quite awhile and always knew it would be related to dance in some way. When this opportunity came along to be a part of Komen's Dance for the Cure, it was an easy step to make, tying the two together."


Effective engagement on Facebook starts with content. The platform has evolved from text to images to videos. We chose Facebook Live Video to capture Deborah’s commitment to the cause.  The artist remarked that Deborah was tougher that most of the young males who submit to the needle.

Another key to Deborah’s success came from the technique of foreshadowing. For each phase of the campaign, she designed a Save the Date, Get Ready and Launch announcement. Her followers knew in advance what was going to happen, get ready for what was about to happen and become a part of what was happening.

Deborah scheduled two live events where invited guests gathered to listen to a cancer survivor put a human face to breast cancer. The events were created on Facebook, held at Blue Bamboo and her brother’s home. Guests were given the opportunity to commit to her campaign with an online donation during the event. Both events concluded with donations from 100% of the guests.

Although a donation link was always nearby, Deborah avoided virtual hounding of her Facebook friends. We created video clips of studio rehearsals and posted teasers to keep her community informed and engaged in her journey.

With each post, Deborah’s momentum increased. As the competition date drew near, she posted her adventure to pick a ball gown. Followers were invited to help her pick a dress by posting their favorite. When Deborah posted her choice, 800 fans saw the red dress in the first 24 hours.

On the day of the event, Deborah received a text from William her dance partner. His wife was experiencing false labor. After their final afternoon rehearsal, William returned home. On top of the normal performance jitters, she spent the rest of the day unsure if she would have a partner come showtime.

In the end, baby Brand took a bow, postponing his arrival until the morning after the event. 

What We Learned

Successful online campaigns start with a human interest story. Use visuals to tell your story, more like a screenplay than a blockbuster book. Use hooks, foreshadowing, and cliffhangers to keep followers engaged. 

Most social posters limit their posts to telling readers what happened. Effective campaign promotions start by sharing what’s going to happen, what is happening right now, what happened and finally, thank their followers for helping them make it happen. 

Deborah and William’s performance was divine. As they left the floor I presented Deborah with a dozen red roses, not just for her performance, but for all the months of hard work and determination.

Follow Deborah’s Journey...