As my inaugural blog post, I wanted to discuss one of my favorite topics – social media marketing. I was in college when MySpace and Facebook were founded, back when only certain colleges were allowed Facebook accounts, and I had just graduated when Twitter was founded. Starting my career in marketing and public relations, it quickly became a core job function to figure out the whole “social media craze” to best enhance my employer’s brand. Well, it’s no longer a craze and is now a major marketing tool for many companies.
Companies want to use social media to create more awareness around a brand or product. But one pitfall is thinking that just because you promote a campaign online, it will “go viral.” While YouTube has been around since 2005, it didn’t become a huge marketing tool until much more recently. Every day there is a new video going viral whether it’s a cat video (75+ million views) or a clever marketing campaign like Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” or Evian’s “Baby and Me.”
Forbes contributor, Dan Schwabel, interviewed Jonah Berger, a Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, on this very topic. Berger believes making a campaign “go viral” isn’t just luck, but rather that following his STEPPS (Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories) formula will drive people to share content both on and offline. As an example, his first principal - social currency is the notion that people want to share content to make them look smart or “in-the-know.” So how do you capitalize on this? You create a campaign that makes people feel like they are insiders. This is just one example and you can check out the full interview for all six principals.
While Berger has seemingly figured out the perfect recipe to creating a viral campaign, here are some pitfalls to avoid:
- Trying to be cool – don’t try to be something you’re not; stick to what your brand knows.
- Target the wrong audience – if you don’t understand whom you’re marketing too, you’ll never appeal to your demographic no matter how exciting your campaign is.
- Failing to integrate your message – you can’t throw a microsite up or create a video and expect that to be enough. Content lives everywhere and needs multiple touch points to be successful. This is where PR and social media outreach can be incredibly helpful.
- Make it hard to share – Think about all of the social sharing tools and do the work ahead of time, make it easy for users to share/promote your campaign in seconds.
- Set out to create a viral campaign (my favorite tip) – The chances of creating a viral campaign are less than one percent, so concentrate on creating great content for your brand.
When it comes to marketing a campaign through social media, what are your best practices or pitfalls to avoid?
In recent months, YouTube has made a series of interesting enhancements that will help both experienced and novice video content creators.
Yesterday, YouTube announced embeddable subscribe buttons. Now fans of a company’s videos can easily subscribe to its YouTube channel from the company’s Website. (Previously, this could only be done on YouTube.) Note: companies aren’t allowed to incentivize users to subscribe to their site.
This move may help bolster YouTube’s fledgling paid channel program announced in May. There are currently 60 paid channels on the platform, including everything from Sesame Street and National Geographic Kids programming to sports and fitness programming from the likes of the PGA Digital Golf Academy and TNA Wrestling. Monthly fees range from $0.99 to about $5.00 with some discounts for annual subscriptions. If successful, this will open up a new revenue stream for YouTube and creators of quality content.
YouTube has also been beefing up their dashboard and analytics.
In May, YouTube rolled out the new Trends Map, which illustrates the most popular videos by major metro area across the country. The map is also customizable by gender and age group. (At the moment, Whales Almost Eat Divers has a significant edge over the Pony West Coast Shetland World Series Amazing Catch.)
And last but not least, YouTube has upgraded its reporting so that the prolific content creator can view analytics for their top 200 videos. As more and more brands commit to video marketing, this will be increasingly useful. In fact, Pixability recently released a report outlining that the top 100 brands increased their monthly YouTube video production by more than 50 percent (from 4,760 to 7,175 new videos per month).
So what does that mean for the average marketer? Feel free to experiment with video. As YouTube continues to beef up its dashboard, analytics and video promotion tools, it can be a powerful tool to educate prospects, build engagement and drive SEO. For the more experienced video content creator, it’s great to see that YouTube is offering new tools to make the site even more robust.
- Katie Hanusik
Shivering? Feeling an urge to don insane outfits and flail around with impunity? Sounds like you have a bad case of the HARLEM SHAKES.
The Harlem Shake videos infesting YouTube right now have little to do with the Harlem Shake, an 80s dance that’s…well, actually a dance. The viral videos are all roughly 30 seconds long and set to Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” each starting with a perfectly normal scene (an office, a military parade ground, etc.) with a single person dancing. Then, at the words ‘Harlem Shake,’ **** gets real and everyone goes crazy – no really, watch the video.
How long until the enterprise adopts this as a kooky team-building video or an attempt to go viral, like they did with PSY’s “Gangnam Style?” …I’ll give it a week.
So what do you think about the Harlem Shake? Hilarious trend or another sign of the End of Days?
In the trenches of the smartphone wars, it appears that Samsung is not frightened by the iPhone 5. In fact, the company is using the oversaturation of Apple fanboys to take aim at the new device, especially with its “The next big thing is already here” tagline and viral video campaign.
While viral videos don’t always have the desired impact, Samsung is crushing viral share numbers, according to Unruly Media, which tracks online video views. While Apple likely doesn’t have much to fear, Samsung’s exposure can only help sales of the Galaxy S III, which is portrayed as having more features and greater technical capacity than the iPhone 5.
So is this success indicative of changing waters in the viral video world? Not necessarily from my perspective. Relying on the fickle nature of the Internet to propel a product or campaign to fame is a dangerous game at best and a set up for failure at worst. Samsung’s success is due to massive (and strategic) ad buys in addition to stellar creative, which requires huge stacks of cold hard cash to do effectively.
What do you think about Samsung’s campaign? Cleverly creative or just lucky opportunism?
I’m not going to completely date myself, but I will say that the intensity of social media in my college days was nothing like it is for students today. In fact, most of it didn’t even exist (at least, in a mainstream sense) until after I graduated. Facebook was around for about a year, but no one knew what to do with it since MySpace was still the rage. YouTube barely launched before I put on my cap and gown, and Twitter made its debut while I was a year into my first post-college job. Needless to say, those social media tools were not a part of my college life. But when I think about college students today, I can’t help but wonder how different their experience must be. And I’m not talking about their social life, but their academic one. Schools and universities can recruit, interact and inform students in ways never thought possible…even compared to seven+ years ago when I was enrolled. (And to think, a simple Tweet or Facebook message could have saved me from those early, snowy walks to class – yes, uphill too – that were in fact canceled for whatever random reason.)
Of course, there are more appropriate reasons why social media makes sense for college life. Sociagility, a social media consultancy company, recently revealed their list of the 50 highest-ranked U.S. and UK universities that have picked up on the idea and are doing it right. Examining Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, “The results are determined by how each school attracted attention to its social media pages — based on site traffic, followers, views and engagement — as well as receptiveness to listening to comments, interaction, network reach and trust.”
Here are the top 10:
- University of Pennsylvania
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- University of Michigan
- Stanford University
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of Oxford
- University of Sheffield
- University of Wisconsin, Madison
- University of Texas at Austin
Here is the full list.
While Western Michigan University may not have made the list, I follow my Broncos on social media channels and am happy to see the level of engagement demonstrated both by students/graduates and the school itself. Even though I’m far from campus, I feel connected, educated and in-the-know about university happenings.
Is your university on the list? What was your experience like with social media when you were there – or what do you imagine it would have been like?
- Mary Evans
"The tastiest meat is under the horn."
Savvy marketers understand the key to their success has been -- and always will be -- making people feel bad.
When consumers feel bad, they buy things to make themselves feel better.
When they feel good, they go running barefoot in the rain or make watercolor paintings or some such non-capitalist nonsense.
So we have to keep people feeling bad, all the time -- and that means constantly coming up with new ways to shame and humiliate our targets. After all, there's only so many times we can watch Subway commercials of overweight people breaking their favorite hammocks.
Enter Ogilvy Cape Town with its new social media campaign for rhino preservationist nonprofit Forever Wild. As noted by Copyranter (one of my favorite ill-tempered advertising bloggers), it's a pretty clever bait and switch.
Essentially, the agency created a series of "YouTube Interventions," where they replaced pop culture videos with heavy-handed rhino moralizing. So people searching for "Facebook Dad Shoots Daughter's Laptop" only get about 6 seconds of the hilarity before the video switches over to graphic depictions of rhinos being raped, eaten, and murdered (in that order).
The pay off line is: "No time to help save rhinos? Well it looks like you've got time to watch Keyboard Cat you selfish hypocrite."
Did it make people feel bad? Check. Did it increase signatures on Forever Wild's Internet petition by 400%? Check. Did it cost basically nothing to produce since YouTube content isn't regulated by any rational form of intellectual property protection? Discount Double Check.
Bravo, Ogilvy. You saved some rhinos. And you might have even saved a few hammocks.
When faced with one minute on the internet, how much can you get done?
This week I came across a great infographic from web design firm Go-Globe.com (see it full size here) on things that happen on the internet every 60 seconds. It is AMAZING how much happens in such a small amount of time – there are almost 700,000 Google searches, 60 new blogs started and 13,000 iPhone apps downloaded.
They got such a great response to their first infographic they put together part 2 that shows that 232 computers are infected with malware, 38 tons of e-waste is generated and 1,100 acres of land are farmed in Farmville!
It’s amazing to see the number of useful (and time wasting) things we do in one minute – could you imagine being the recipient of all 168 million emails?
– Ali Robinson
Recently, I learned that some friends of mine decided to “cut the cord” and cancel their cable TV. Theirrationale was that everything they could want to watch – with the exception, perhaps, of livesporting events – was readily available online.
Right after I heard this I read a recent Reuters story about how YouTube is now streaming a mammoth 4 billion online videos per day. That’s a lot of eyeballs viewing the Web’s premier source of online videos.
Much of this may be attributed to the growing popularity of YouTube Channels. YouTube Channels feature unique content, much of which has been created by well-known providers who have dabbled in other mediums in the past, including television. More and more producers are signing up to offer YouTube channels, enticed by the lure of all of those potential viewers (not to mention the ability to reach people not only by their computers, but via smartphones and TV’s as well).
It’s not just YouTube, of course. Netflix, Hulu, network TV websites, iTunes and more – all of these services have changed the way people consume video content.
For companies – even ones that may not be considered “photogenic” – this means that having some form of video content online should no longer be considered a “nice to have.” YouTube, Vimeo or similar sites should be considered viable “channels” through which to reach customers. And it doesn’t need to be expensive; sometimes the most unprofessional, off-the-cuff videos are the ones that get the most hits and succeed virally.
I must admit, when I first heard my friends were getting rid of cable, I thought they were a bit crazy. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I spend most of my time watching video on-demand. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I actually even saw a TV commercial in real-time.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this. And I think the YouTube statistics bear that out. If you want to reach someone like me, using an online video site may very well be one of the best ways to do so.
Image credit: greencandy8888
- Pete Larmey