The curious thing about social media marketing is that there is no right way to do things. There’s no wrong way, either. It’s still very much the Wild West – with no Sheriff in sight.
I wrote earlier this year about the Oreo “Dunk in the Dark” tweet as the most-talked-about branding execution of the Super Bowl. This one tweet in fact amplified the conversation around “Real-Time Social Marketing” – with nearly every conference of the year including some panel discussion about the hot topic.
However, real time marketing isn’t new; we’ve just never had the tools to make it as easy as it is now. If anything, Disney recognized the power of original, brilliant real-time marketing during major events – including the Super Bowl – before social media existed. For instance, the “I’m going to Disney World!” spots, which would air immediately following national sports championships with in-game footage and jubilant cry, represents a simpler era in real time marketing.
Times have changed, and it’s now much simpler and less expensive to create content in real time that can be buzz worthy. Yet, as brands try to insert themselves into the conversation of non-branded events, one has to ask if they should. Everything from the birth of Prince George, to the anniversary of September 11, to the finale of Breaking Bad sees brands trying to catch the lightning-in-a-bottle effect that Oreo captured in February. Such activity begs the question though: What is the exact relevance?
I’m not suggesting brands should stop, because it’s well known they won’t. Brands must, however, think about what makes sense for what it already stands for as well as its target demographic. Like PR, there is a time and place to be part of the conversation, but it shouldn’t be for every single event. For instance, Chips Ahoy tweeting about The Walking Dead just doesn’t fit in.
What might make more sense is for Hyundai, which is a sponsor for The Walking Dead, to tweet about its car and marketing campaign tied to the show. While Chips Ahoy is trying to be a part of the buzz without being an official sponsor, it doesn’t come across as an authentic, unique and relevant integration. Instead it feels like a brand forcing itself on you and, in some circumstances, embarrassing themselves.
At the end of the day, the Holy Grail of digital, social, and really all marketing/PR initiatives is to achieve the “viral” recognition – for the right reasons. So very few achieve it, and more brands achieve it for the wrong reasons. While that doesn’t mean not to try, it needs to be an acceptance of all the varying factors that play into viral success – many of which are completely out of your control. There is no one formula for success (or failure) but with a little bit of luck, you might just pull off something amazing.
This Post comes from Melanie Seasons, Community Innovation Director at our sister agency Eulogy! London. Melanie covered the news of Facebook introducing the #hashtag, and how it can benefit brands. This post was originally shared via E!’s blog.
Facebook announced that it will launch a hashtag functionality, allowing users and brands to join in wider conversations and see trending topics around the globe.
Adding the “#” symbol in front of a word or phrase, will turn the text in to a hyperlink and bring up a separate feed of what other users are saying about the same topic.
This will be visible for all Facebook users and brands, even those that are not connected to a user or following a certain brand. There will be an option for users to opt out of the trending activity in the privacy settings, if they do not wish to join wider conversations.
The hashtag was originally launched on micro site, Twitter and is also present on Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.
Unlike Twitter, the Facebook hashtag will not be available for brands to use as an advertising tool and pay for promoted trends or tweets. This could however, roll out in the future after users and brands become familiar with the new tool.
What are the plus points?
We think this could be a great opportunity for brands to join in natural conversations such as #Father’s Day or #Christmas and have their products seen by new customers. It could also open the doors for people to ‘like’ new brand pages while increasing engagement on statuses as people have a shared interest in the topics being discussed, so are more likely to interact. And from a storytelling point of view (so important for brands), it will hopefully keep users inside Facebook for longer as they explore trending topics and read news articles relating to their shared conversations.
What are the drawbacks?
There are potentially a few. Generally, any changes to Facebook are often met with scepticism. While it’s not a totally alien process, users do not associate the function with the platform. If promoted trends do launch on Facebook in the future, brands could face further criticism on their content appearing in personal news feeds and trending lists.
What do we think?
Criticisms aside, we think this is a great function for Facebook to introduce. Hashtags have become centric to social behaviour. Once the initial launch negativity wears off and users become more familiar with the action, it will be largely accepted and a great opportunity for brands to be seen organically and not hidden outside the main newsfeed.
What’s next? With Facebook finally joining the hashtag club, it can’t be too far away to see an aggregator that measures the volume of hashtags being used on all social platforms at any given time.
Posted by Jordan Katz
South by Southwest is finally upon us. We at DGC know that conference attendees have a hearty appetite for the latest and most innovative social media technologies. In fact, many of the social apps we all know and love were first introduced at SXSWi, including GroupMe, a group messaging app that later sold to Skype; Foursquare, a location-based social network; and even Twitter, just to name a few.
If you’re not able to attend, there’s a new tool that can still put you at the heart of SXSWi’s social conversations without ever having to leave the comfort of your room. Say hello to Hey Big Fish, a new web app that helps identify the trends, people and topics that carry the most influence at a large event, like SXSWi.
Hey Big Fish helps users discover the hottest topics, trending news and field experts by analyzing Twitter activity, measuring influence based on peer engagement and showcasing a ranking of people, topics and content in a simple dashboard.
The app helps those at the conference too by finding people with whom to interact and allowing them to discover the topics and influencers that matter most to them.
Here are some tips for how to best use Hey Big Fish:
- Click here to access the mobile Web app: http://www.heybigfish.com
- Use the platform to discover the most buzzed-about news in general or on specific topics of interest, such as Web design or big data.
- The platform will help you learn who is the most influential on specific topics
- Start a conversation with someone new
- See where you rank in the SXSWi pond and track your rise as you engage
While Hey Big Fish is still in its infancy, we’re excited to see this app take off with a little earned media. Bottom line, use Hey Big Fish to join the conversation via any relevant SXSWi hashtag (#SXSW, #SXSWi, etc.) and track your influence—or your brand’s influence—at the event.
You can bet we’ll be tracking DGC’s influence! Will you? Let us know in the comments below.
Super Bowl hype has become almost formulaic over the years. In the weeks leading up to the actual game, many marketers release their TV spots in increments online for everyone to get an early look. Then there’s the game, which always has an exhilarating halftime show. The commercials are discussed ad nauseum for days afterward. It’s clear the formula is working. This year the Bowl didn’t break its own record, but still reached the 100 million viewer threshold. The only real variable is the game itself, which was another exciting finish featuring the extremely rare voluntary safety play.
When the lights went out in the third quarter, we reached uncharted territory; the largest event of the year was put on hold due to a power outage, and the networks, players, fans in the stands and the viewing audience were scratching our heads. Some ads like Bud Light’s Lucky Chair were run again to fill the gap. Many took to social networks.
My personal Twitter feed was full of jokes – the most common being Bane / The Dark Knight Rises references, Beyonce’s “second” performance, and crude Ray Lewis jokes – but the tweets that stood out the most were from brands.
Oreo stole the show by following the brand’s “Whisper Fight” spot with a tweet that perfectly inserted their product into the immediate chaos of the blackout. Other kudos go to Audi, PBS, and Tide. I’ll even give credit to Calvin Klein, though that Vine was for a different target audience than the one I belong to, but I digress.
While massive marketing events like the Super Bowl seem so planned out from every possible angle, the lesson learned – for PR professionals, advertisers, social media gurus, and others, is to always be ready to make the most of the unexpected and quickly adapt to the unknown. Of course, that is much easier said than done but these brands showed us it’s possible, and can help change brand perception with just 140 characters and a mouse click.
Let the countdown for Super Bowl XLVIII begin. We hope MetLife Stadium in New Jersey can withstand the high power consumption that the Super Bowl demands.
Social media content is always begging the question, what’s next? Tweets, videos, Instagrams, blog posts, it’s all very real-time. Rarely is there a look back, unless it is part of a year in review style piece that we’ve seen all too much this time of year.
But nostalgia is powerful. It brings back memories, emotions, and can remind you of the good and bad times in your life as well as helping inform your future decisions. The proliferation of online content makes it easy to revisit days, months, and even years gone by.
There’s an app called Timehop I’ve been using for a while that I wanted to share. Formerly known as “Four Square and Seven Years Ago,” this app digs into your old tweets, Facebook pictures, check-ins, images taken on your phone, and more to give you a glimpse into your online activity on this particular day through the years.
It makes it easy for me to go back and see what I shared on this day last year, the year prior, all the way back to my social media infancy six years ago and see what (regretful) shenanigans I was up to in college.
A lot of my shares are related to music, sports, or TV. Most mornings I check in with TimeHop to see where I was mentally and reflect on how different I am now.
Using TimeHop makes me think more now before I share. For example, do I really need to tweet about Bruce Springsteen every day? While I stand behind every Springsteen tweet I have sent, there are times after TimeHopping where I ask myself “Was I thinking before I hit tweet?!”
We’re in the business of reputation and software like Timehop allows seamless access to your past like never before. It provides a history of not just your reputation today, but your reputation from years back. For some, that can be dangerous territory (thankfully, I’m pretty clean.)
For brands, Timehop can serve as a way to easily access stories and work shared over social in the past making the life of a community manager easier. Perhaps there are opportunities to revisit that content and update it for today, or even use it as a reflection piece? If you’re in the business of predicting trends, how did you do?
Timehop also breathes pragmatism into a somewhat overused buzz word in “Big Data” by allowing brands to tap into users’ archives of shared content. Did you tweet about going skiing last winter? A ski company could offer you a deal on another trip. Got a new iPad this day last year? iPad case companies could suggest you buy a new case. The issue of privacy obviously comes up, but there’s certainly an opportunity if it is done in an authentic manner.
As with many tech products, you only get out of it as much as you put in. For those that invest the time, Timehop offers a unique look down social-memory lane that can help you improve your content moving forward. Download Timehop for iPhone [non iPhone-users can still use the e-mail version.]
Earlier in the year, we were introduced to Vizify, a content aggregator that visualizes who you are through the content you share on your social networks.
Seems simple enough – with so many social platforms for you to express yourself, and with digital data doubling every two years, this tool lets people easily “see” the highlights.
We were reminded of Vizify through Twitter’s 2012 Year in Review, a comprehensive look back at what made news through the year. The two tech companies have worked together to create a “Your Year on Twitter” feature, showcasing the words we tweeted the most. Some of the highlights won’t surprise you – mine certainly didn’t – but what was interesting to see was the volume with which things were tweeted within a specific time.
Below is a snapshot of @digennaro’s twitter through 2012.
While most of our words fit within our vertical, notice how all of our 63 #CannesLions tweets were within the month surrounding the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity?
Facebook also rounded up their biggest trends – and yours – in one handy place, with their “2012 Year In Review” while Google showed us what the 10 most Google’d things of 2012 were (cue guilty curiosities about Whitney Houston, Gangnam Style and Kate Middleton).
While we at DGC enjoyed taking this look back at our social chatter (and are upset at the lack of “Call Me Maybe” search queries!), we also used this opportunity to become more familiar with Vizify for our personal presences.
We like Vizify’s capabilities but believe some of the features in terms of images and quotes could use some tweaking before it becomes the “digital version” of yourself.
What do you think? Try it out for yourself and let us know in the comments!
MediaPost’s Editor at Large Barbara Lippert and DGC’s Sally O’Dowd share their thoughts on how this year’s Cannes International Festival of Creativity has evolved. Barbara describes how she has witnessed this festival transform from a small scale creative gathering into the “world’s fair for advertising”, aggregating clients, media people, and digerati from all over the globe. DGC’s Vice President Sally O’Dowd also dishes on what she feels sets this year’s Cannes apart from years prior: the overpowering presence of digital and social.
Posted by Elissa Davis
Where do you get your news? According to the recently released Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s State of the New Media in 2012 report, not Facebook or Twitter. While Facebook has made a concerted effort to expand its relationship with journalists and new organizations through Social Reader and Twitter has always been seen as a mini “newsfeed,” the numbers tell a different story.
The study determined that only 9% of digital news consumers regularly get their news from these social networks while 36% of people go directly to the publication’s website, 32% use search engines to get news and 29% use a news organizer site or app. These numbers rise to 52% when you look at people who “sometimes” get news from Facebook and Twitter – but that’s still drastically lower than the 92% who sometimes go directly to news sites and the 85% that use search.
Digging deeper into Pew’s State of the News Media, we learn that for the users who do get news from social channels, Facebook and Twitter function differently. On Facebook, for example, 70% of the news people read were from family, 13% from news organizations and 10% from non-news organizations that suggested a story to read. On the other hand, people on Twitter get 27% of news from organizations, 18% from non-news organizations and only 36% from family and friends.
While we had a bit of sticker shock at how low these numbers were, there is no denying that Facebook and Twitter should still be a part of your news distribution strategy. You just have to ensure that you’re using the channels to your advantage and sharing the news in a way that your audiences will take notice. As we shared last year, when you’re creating content for your social community you have to play to specific social audiences and should speak with an authentic voice, sharing relevant news and unique visuals to tell your brand’s story. Take the time to study how your audiences react to different posts and types of news. Experiment with continued personalization, visuals and editorializing of content to see how it boosts engagement across specific channels, then give them more of what works.
In time, we predict that there will continue to be an increase in the consumption of news from news sources across social media communities. But it’s clearly not there yet. So in the meantime, remember the power of personal connections. Don’t be afraid to ask for action from friends, family, colleagues and industry connections to spread the news and involve them in your company’s story.
Posted by Amelia Vereb
I’ll be honest with you: I think I made my way through all three books of The Hunger Games series in less than a week. So, when the studio slowly started releasing images and interactive web sites associated with the first movie, I was in the loop and sharing the content with my friends. We were so excited about all the hype surrounding the movie that we even went to see it at midnight when it opened, and we were not disappointed—or ashamed. Maybe we should have been. (Although the most embarrassing part of the whole experience was this completely ridiculous teaser for the final movie of the Twilight Saga.)
You didn’t have to be an advertising industry expert to see how Lionsgate slowly built hysteria around The Hunger Games. The whole thing was like a scavenger hunt, giving Hunger Games fanatics the opportunity to interact with the series directly through traditional and non-traditional media, and build a connection with the movie before it even opened.
And to great success. The Hunger Games was predicted to make $90 million during its opening weekend—it raked in $155 million.
It goes without saying that the real star of The Hunger Games movie wasn’t Jennifer Lawrence or the incredibly good-looking Liam Hemsworth—it was the social marketing push, which the New York Times’ Brooks Barnes sums up nicely in this article about how the franchise generated “must-see fever.” What brands can learn from The Hunger Games is that the more subtle, phased approach builds suspense and drives interest in a product—even if the audience already knows the story. By serving products up piece-by-piece, brands make fans feel like they discovered them on their own. It is that sense of ownership that builds true loyalty, and in return, a record-breaking opening weekend.
So, when you’re working on your next campaign, think about the who, what and where—but also think about the when. Knowing the best time to reach your audience is what will get you ahead in the game.
Sometimes when you attend a panel here at SXSW, you wind up hearing a topline conversation of things you already know and not a deeper dive into things that you really want to know. Discoverability and the New World of Book PR offered a refreshing instance of the latter with a variety of tips for today’s authors.
While the discussion on the changing media landscape, use of social media and basic pitching were things we know and practice, Rusty Shelton and Barbara Henricks – book PR specialists – made it clear that timing and access are critical to success in this digital world (sounds familiar).
With fewer reporters and publications, authors need to begin the process earlier and earlier to build proper momentum and enhance success after a book is published. A bottom up approach – starting with social media and working your way to top-tier broadcast — while seemingly slow at first can have greater impact than an initial hit or two.
To kick-start your book marketing journey and enhance PR efforts, consider the following:
Timing: Start talking up your book as soon as you have a title and topic. This will help gather interest from your inner network of respected friends, family and associates to get the buzz started. Waiting until the last minute will put you behind the eight ball when it comes to securing more traditional coverage.
Social Media: Begin talking about your book or topics closely related to it on Facebook, Twitter, a blog and with bloggers to share your expertise and engage with potential readers. Once the book is available for review, these supporters will be the first to offer a positive review and start spreading the love. And don’t feel like any outlet is too small – optimization is your best friend — so take advantage of those blog opportunities.
Video: Don’t have the time necessary to dedicateto social media? Start small with an hour per week and progress from there. In the meantime, create a video for your website that allows visitors to visualize you as an author and engage based upon your passion and expertise (not to mention help with broadcast pitching efforts).
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to write a good book; it’s up to you, your community and PR team to help make it a best seller. With the proper timing, community and tools in place, this can be a reality.