The world stood still and watched with horror as 15 year old Pakistani education activist, Malaya Yousafzai, was rushed to a British hospital after an assassination attempt by the Taliban.
What does this have to do with social media?
Malaya’s experience was a shot heard ’round the world and was one of the catalysts for a documentary called Girl Rising. The 100-minute film showcases 9 girls’ stories, from 9 different countries and their struggles just to get an education. When the people behind Girl Rising started to look at ways in which to market the film, they went directly to the grass roots. There was no way they would be able to compete with the budgets Hollywood documentaries had at their disposal. Producers chose to circumvent the traditional route of theatre distribution and rely entirely on social media tools to build a community and spread their message. As of March 3, 2013, Girl Rising has more than 245,000 fans on Facebook, more than 32,000 tickets pre-reserved and 500 screenings have been requested nationwide.
This kind of distribution and promotion–the Hollywood 2.0 route–is ground-breaking for smaller projects.
London’s Summer 2012 Olympics embraced social media more so than any other Games before it (even Vancouver’s Winter Olympics which was where the social media movement surrounding the Olympic Games began). That meant that their advertisers and major sponsors had an additional channel to reach consumers.
Adidas was an official sponsor of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Nike sponsored many of the individual teams and athletes. Nike took to social media channels as well as developing heart-string-tugging television ads resulting in an increase of more than 11% for @Nike from opening to closing ceremonies and only 4% for @adidasoriginals. Nike used every inch of the Olympic experience it could to get people talking about their brand and they were wildly successful.
One of the largest airlines in the world, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, is also considered one of the best in converting “Likes” into paying customers. Part of their marketing success is their willingness to take bold yet calculated risks. They are able to do this because they understand the customer buying journey. The touch points along the journey a lead or existing customer takes as they experience the KLM brand and then, how KLM works to improve each touch point along the path.
They began in social media the summer of 2009. Since then, they had a few failures along with great successes. One of their more controversial and successful campaigns is their Meet and Seat initiative. See below video. It’s a way for you to see who you may be sitting next to days before you board the plane.
Seven Social Media Campaigns Documented
To read the case studies of each campaign, go to their Facebook Page and click our social journey. They provide details about each campaign and insight into what made each one successful. They also did a 4 part series about their social media strategy. Part 3 of the series talks about some of the campaigns. Skip 1, 2, and 4. Weak on substance and depth. Not worth your time to read unless you are new to social media.
New Zealand fashion week, similar to New York’s fashion week, created a successful multi-platform social media strategy that helped grow attendance and revenue during the entire week of the event. Fashion weeks are a way to bring the top designers, retailers, socialites, and those just passionate about fashion together in one place to party and do business.
With an operating budget of just under $10,000, Paramount Studios was not expecting tremendous numbers from the release of Paranormal Activity in theaters. To their surprise, however, the movie theaters across the country did not want anything to do with the low budget title; regardless of how good it was. Since there was absolutely no advertising budget available, a viral campaign on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter was the sole forms of advertising.
Celebrity premiere parties were held around 13 college campuses to raise interest
Horror fans were taped watching the film to show their reactions
Promo clips and fan reactions were posted on many social networking sites
The Twitter campaign released new info during Twitter’s slowest hours- 2-6 AM
By creating one of the biggest viral movie campaigns of all time, hundreds of thousands of fans literally demanded that the film be brought to their local theaters. In fact, over 150 fans were listed within the credits simply for making the most noise around the net, which is a big reason why a $10,000 film grossed over $107,000,000 at the box office and an additional $16,000,000 on DVD. More about this study can be found here.
JetBlue executives realized that many of their travelers were experiencing numerous problems with the airlines and most of the time it stemmed from a lack of communication. Busy commuters did not have time to stop and read detailed information when they were rushing to catch a flight at the airport or lost at a baggage terminal, so Twitter seemed to be worth a closer look. This campaign focused on answering consumer questions in a laid back, friendly format…which was very different from the standard press releases that the company was used to.
Customer service agents answered customer questions in real time
Answers were conversational and designed to connect on a personal level
Several formats were tried as the JetBlue Twitter account gained followers
JetBlue quickly realized that while standard company memos received almost no response at all, consumers were easily captivated with real time interactions from friendly staff members. Since their Twitter account had almost no followers at the launch of the campaign, it was relatively easy to try several different messaging formats until the right combination was found. The company considers this campaign a massive success in connecting with consumers on a personal level and they have plans to expand the program. You can read more about this case study here.
Best Buy was seeking a way to give added value to their customers outside of their physical store locations, so they decided to develop a running promotion on Twitter to answer an array of electronic and computer related questions. They expected that by finding a service that their competitors could not provide and essentially giving it away for free, it would vault them into a much higher overall market share within their industry.
Qualified employees were asked to volunteer to answer questions on Twitter
Each response was catalogued so that other users could find information faster
Over 2,900 employees have answered 40,000 questions since the program launch
While it is tough to gauge the productivity of a free service, Best Buy has seen their @twelpforce account skyrocket with followers over the past twelve months. It also had an unexpected side-effect of boosting employee morale by making average workers the voice of the company; all on an extremely limited budget. You can read more about this case study here.
I’m a huge fan of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Besides being an avid fan, I used to work there as a national host and producer for its CBC Radio One network. So it came sort of naturally that I started a fan page on Facebook for it. Not even two years later, and the Page now has 48,000 very engaged fans — far more than any other CBC page (official or not). Sometimes it’s so busy that within 15 minutes of posting something on the page, more than a hundred people have commented on it.
If you’d like to grow your page zero to 48,000 fans, here are some tips I recommend:
Set Up an Auto-Publishing Twitter Account
Facebook lets you automatically tweet out page updates onto a Twitter account, so I established @aboutcbc on Twitter and it serves as a promotional channel — whenever I post something on the Page, this account tweets out the post with a direct link to the post. This reminds people to check the Page and, if they’re not already following the page, to Like it.
Follow Lots of Obscure Content Sources
In my feed reader, I have a tonne of sources that publish content about the CBC — sources like the CBC’s official news web site and some program web sites. But I find the links that generate the most engagement come from sort of obscure sources. For instance, I follow this great (but horribly designed) blog about the Canadian radio industry, this blog for a band calledPeter Mansbridge and the CBCs (totally unrelated to the CBC), and follow an RSS search for CBC on eBay. I find the more random and offbeat the content, the more engagement happens.
Here’s an example of a recent eBay find:
I wish eBay had an affiliate program — usually things I post from eBay on the Page sell within minutes. Here’s another example: Note the last comment of someone telling everyone they’d bought it:
A few hours after I post something on the page, I usually try to go back and engage in a little conversation with some of the commenters. This, of course, drives more comments and the engagement loop remains solid. Putting a little bit of you in the page goes a long way to humanizing the content. .
Heading back over to Jet Blue for a very simple case study that examines the strategic decisions companies make when they decide to hang their shingle in Twitterville. How many Twitter accounts should one brand have? Companies like RogersCommunications and WholeFoods have several, while others, like SouthWest Airlines, concentrate all their efforts in a single space.
So why did Jet Blue decide to diversify? According to Jet Blue’s Manager of Corporate Communications, Morgan Johnston, they understood that their Twitter followers could generally be divided into two groups: those who were interested in conversation, and those who only wanted information on seat sales. They decided to give customers in each segment what they wanted, eliminating what each would consider to be noise.
It’s a little light on content, but this short four-minute video is an excellent example of a well-produced case study. Interesting to note that they’re acutely aware of how many employees have active Twitter accounts.