Tag Archives: social networks

So what now? Concrete tips on how to engage digital audiences

It should be easy enough. Listen to your audience, come up with a simple, relevant message and win the hearts of consumers everywhere. However, as we’ve seen gaining traction online is often more complicated and difficult than brands expect. Great campaigns like Old Spice’s can sometimes take years to reach the tipping point, while others that are seemingly less impressive explode overnight. So what are the most important take-aways when considering how to create a successful digital campaign?

1. Be an anthropologist. Knowing your audience takes more than just listening; it requires you to immerse yourself in their world. When do they get online? What kind of content do they consume? How do they connect online content to their physical world? Finding the answers to these questions whether it’s through observations, focus groups or interviews will help you find the best ways to connect in terms of media and message.

2. Tell a story. Most human interactions revolve around sharing stories. We can’t wait to tell someone about that funny incident on the subway, an annoying customer at work or a meeting with an old friend. Companies can tap into our affinity for sharing by finding an insight that makes the brand relevant to our daily lives. You’ll know you’ve reached a great insight when it seems obvious after the fact. ‘Got Milk?’ played on the simple idea that people get upset when they need milk and don’t have it. It seems elementary now, but when the campaign was created it was a completely new way of positioning the product.

3. Be persistent. Online channels offer endless opportunities for exposure, but that doesn’t always translate into immediate success. Even if your campaign is brilliant, it may take time for it to reach critical mass. Consider how your audiences’ social networks function. Who are the big influencers and trend setters, and how can you get their attention?

4. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Digital media offer a powerful way to connect with consumers, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way. Consumers do lead offline lives the majority of the time. Brands that continue the conversation once the audience has logged off tend to have the most longevity. Instead of discounting traditional media completely, consider how it can act as a supplement to your online efforts. In Old Spice’s case, mass media was able to build enough awareness to fuel direct consumer-brand conversations via the ‘Response Campaign’.

Although they are not all encompassing, these guidelines provide concrete stepping stones to developing a successful digital campaigns in a changing landscape.

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Social Network Addictions

After I joined the New Media Driver’s License class, we were encouraged to branch out from our dependence on Facebook and test out some new social networks.  More specifically, LinkedIn and Twitter.  After spending the last couple of weeks learning about these sites and connecting with people, I have realized that social networks are about so much more than being social.

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Twitter has become one of my number one resources.  I have connected with so many intelligent, helpful people in my industry.  It is like having hundreds of mentors directly at your finger tips, and I have become hopelessly addicted.   A lot of people argue about the real value of “tweeting” though.  Does it really get you any where?  In my experience so far, it most definitely does.  However, it forces you to do the unthinkable – give to others with no expectations.

Joining a social network with the expectation that people will immediately give you the keys to the kingdom (referrals, a job, ect.) will get you nowhere fast.  I have found the best policy is to listen. Read the articles people recommend, follow their favorites, and most importantly thank them for the things they share!  By doing this, I have started to have real conversations with professionals in my field, and build real relationships that I am confident will benefit both of us.  Twitter has put me on the path to cultivating partnerships in “the real world”.

So in the interest of giving props to the people who I love to follow, heres a list you should check out.

kevinpalmer, davidalston, chrisbrogan, davefleet, mikenolan99, dannybrown, TDefren, justcreativemediaphyter, eyecube, dmullen….ok so there’s too many to list.  Come visit me on Twitter and check out who I’m following – they offer a lot of great wisdom on social media, marketing, PR, ect.

As for LinkedIn, I have had a similar positive experience.  My favorite part of LinkedIn is the groups I have become a part of.  Much like Twitter, they consist of a running feed from group members about articles, industry news, and relevant advice.  Best part? You can get email updates on what people are chatting about.

The more I use these networks, the more addicted I become, and surprisingly I’m glad!

What on Earth is Viral?

This is a post I wrote for my company blog, but I liked it so much I thought I would post it here as well. Enjoy!

Viral is the new buzz word – everyone in the ad industry is talking about it, and more importantly companies are jumping on the bandwagon.  The best part?  Small and large companies alike can get in on the action!  The tough part is realizing sometimes viral is easier said than done…and the fact that it uses a digital medium doesn’t always mean it will produce instantaneous results.  

It isn’t a viral campaign until it goes viral.  Although you can develop a viral campaign, you audience chooses whether or not to pass it on through e-mail, social networks, and websites.  

This means the campaign must be creative, different, and talk-worthy.  The user must derive some value from the campaign, whether it be a laugh, a useful, relevant piece of information or way to emotionally connect with friends and family.

Know your audience and what will be most relevant to them, and provide this in an interesting, innovative way.  If you do this, you  have given yourself the potential for a successful viral campaign.

Check out these top ten viral campaign picks from TimesOnline for some inspiration.

1. Nike: A Touch of Gold.  This campaign got 50 million views worldwide.  For those that aren’t football buffs, these ball handling skills aren’t exactly common – which sparked on an online debate over whether the clip was real or digitally produced.

2. Agent Provocateur.  Explicit? Yes. Effective? Most definitely – 360 million views effective. 

3. John West Salmon.  This landed 300 million views.  Proof that sometimes what people choose to pass on may surprise you.

4.  Quicksilver Dynamite Surfing. This ad made its way onto 95% of surfing websites…four days after it was released.  

5. Carlton  Draught. Most viral campaigns don’t have this big of a budget, but the sheer creativity of it makes it relevant to companies of any size.  It also shows how digital mediums can work with traditional ones: this ad was released two weeks before it aired on T.V. to generate buzz.

6. Trojan Games.  This site went up in 2003 to generate buzz and is still getting hits five years later.  Disclaimer: View at your own risk, its slightly provocative. 

7. Dove Evolution.  A testament to the real results a viral campaign can produce.  It positioned Dove as the “real beauty” company, which gave them a double digit sales increase.

8. Berlitz: Improve your English. This ad became so popular, the website it linked to couldn’t handle the traffic and had to be shut down.

9. Mentos and Diet Coke.  Paying attention to how people are using or talking about your product online pays off.  This experiment by Eepy Bird wasn’t commissioned by either company, but still got them major exposure. Well worth the 3 minutes.

10. Marc Ecko: Still Free.  The company caused some major controversy when they released a video on the web of a cover operation to tag Air Force One with grafitti.  It caught so much attention that major networks like ABC, MSNBC, and CNN covered the story and the U.S. Air Force itself investigated whether it had been simulated or was in fact real.