"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be."
Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
Social Media has made a lot of buzz this year. It has proved its power, its unpredictability and a plethora of hidden opportunities. While marketers scream out loud about the undiscovered gems of Social Media, only a minority learnt how to control masses and even a smaller percentage managed to use the viral character of Social Media phenomenon for the sake of good.
Managing your reputation on the web is like managing your reputation at high school: you can be whoever you want to be if you have guts to make the right impression and turn even disadvantages to your advantages. We are who people think we are.
Like it or not, but Social Media will continue to be a hot trembling topic in 2013 and learning from somebody else’s experience can help you save your time, money, healthy psyche and your brand/personal reputation.
Today we'd like to talk about the five most interesting examples of social media success in 2012.
1. Barack Obama 2012 Election Campaign
OK, raise your hands those who did the impossible this year and didn't watch TV and didn't check Twitter/Facebook feed at the same time. Ha? No one? Looks like modern people are no worse than Julius Caesar for whom multitasking was like oxygen.
Jokes aside, Barack Obama's team has been doing a really good job since 2008. Social Media was applied to a conservative election campaign strategy to boost the results and provide people with instant access to the information they needed. It’s one of the best examples of an open, straight-forward and ingenious strategy any politician has ever dared to choose.
What about Mitt Romney one may ask? He was also on Social Media and the consistence of his social media efforts was not worse. After analyzing Twitter and Facebook accounts of both candidates one can easily identify one obvious psychological difference associated with the influence of images on human brain.
Mitt Romney usually stands aside in all his photos, is pictured alone or rarely with his wife who also normally keeps a distance. Even if Mitt is surrounded by people he still looks isolated. Barack Obama on the contrary is interacting with people, he makes a huge focus on his wife (whose Facebook fan page was often shared and mentioned on Barack Obama's page), kids, family and was often pictured when shaking hands with ordinary people. Isn't it compelling?
Not surprisingly the picture featuring Barack hugging his wife became the most shared image on Twitter and Facebook ever. Honestly, ever.
Lesson learnt: one should never underestimate the power of visual effects in Social Media and make use of his friends’ influence too.
Everyone knows that pictures and videos receive more RTs and shares, but the skill of creating impressive images and impressive short description applicable to them still requires mastering. Social Media leaves a huge space for interaction and if you have influential friends on the web you can openly show your relation to them. After all you can't write only about yourself because it looks too pushy, promotional and, to a certain degree, pathetic and desperate.
2. Dear Nike, I can't Tie My Shoes
Once upon a time there was a boy; he lived a happy life surrounded by loved parents and loyal friends. However an old witch cursed him and he was destined to have Cerebral Palsy till the end of his days. The boy was courageous and optimistic and learned to have a full life with the disease until he realized how humiliating it might be not to be able to tie his own shoes.
He could have blamed the witch; he could have accepted this minor physical disability and pretend it didn't make a difference; he could have waited for a miracle to happen as it normally does in fairy-tales, but instead he decided to act.
The brave boy named Matthew Walzer wrote a letter to Nike asking to make a pair of basketball shoes tailored specifically for his condition, took a picture of his letter and published it on Instagram followed by Facebook and other social networks afterwards.
The letter was noticed by Nice Kicks and its Founder Matt Halfhill who shot a YouTube video asking people to share and re-tweet the story and in response he promised to send as many letters to Nike CEO as many RTs and shares they got.
And it worked. Matthew Walzer got his shoes. Nice Kicks did the right thing and promoted their brand in a way that couldn't be planned. Nike proved itself as a company that cares, again. Social Media did its job.
Lesson learnt: reputation cannot be bought; it's the way you react to something unplanned and make the most of it while also thinking about other participating sides.
Each and every social media buzz creates an opportunity for your brand to stand out. You can invest millions of dollars in your PR and social media campaigns, but real pros crawl the web for opportunities and catch it with bare hands as soon as they see it. Sometimes social media has nothing to do with earning money, sometimes it must serve for a higher cause and touch people's feelings and emotions. Caring for someone except for you and your business always pays off.
3. Dumb Ways To Die
Marketers face different challenges but one of the hardest ones is when you have to make something bored, well-known and obvious go viral. A public transport authority in Melbourne, Australia apparently understood the challenge very good, but instead of raising awareness about railway safety in an old-fashioned way and via old-fashioned channels they turned to Social Media for help.
Dumb Ways To Die video got immensely popular on YouTube and was noticed not only in Australia. The catchy tune, bright colors, jokes and a bit of imagination made this video one of the most entertaining ads on promoting one of the most boring things.
Lesson learnt: Social Media is new and there is no recipe for you or your business that will definitely work. You have to take risks and experiment.
Prejudices complicate everything and make us think in a narrow-minded way. Why should anyone follow well-established models reigning in your sphere and look just the way your competitors do? The answers are normally right here on the surface, you just need to be brave enough to challenge the traditions and make something new, fresh and totally unexpected. Surprise yourself with your social media decisions and your fans will applaud.
4. Old Spice Muscle Music
Old Spice had enough courage this year to create a viral video that at first sight has very little to do with its production, but only at the very first sight. Giants like Old Spice do not need to create brand awareness, they aim at brand loyalty increase which is totally economically understandable.
Some of our readers may ask what components of this marketing move can be applicable to their business. Actually Old Spice turned to basics, to something that all social media experts shout about as of an ultimate condition of a successful social media strategy – engagement.
We hear it every day: drive engagement, drive engagement, drive engagement… Honestly, aren’t you surprised that there is not still a tongue twister with this collocation?
Old Spice enabled users not only to watch this funny video, but also let us play with this hilarious man, create a tune of our own and record it.
Lesson learnt: you must drive user engagement in Social Media. OK, now feel free to shoot us for stuffing this post with this irritating expression.
One of the main principles of any relationship (business, personal, etc.) is what you do for the other and what you feel when doing it. You can post lots of images, share valuable news, spend sleepless nights writing quality content and hanging out on all social networks, but you still can be left unnoticed. It's sad, but you're not the only one who's good at all these things. Just make people do something associated with your brand and let them have fun. Positive emotions always convert better.
5. Tweet Shop
Kellog opened the first Tweet Shop in Soho, London, where people could buy their new special K Cracker Crisps for a tweet. Company officials explained their move as a wish to increase the buzz around their new product and increasing sales in the long-run.
The shop was very successful and twitter was flooded with #tweetshop hash tags.
Lesson learnt: expecting a quick ROI from Social Media is nonsense, think the long-run.
Being ready to invest solidly and constantly in Social Media is one of the key success factors. Sometimes you have to invest in your customers to make them invest in you in the future.
As we can see plenty of companies implemented their Social Media ideas in 2012 and capitalized on them. Fortunately we can learn from the most successful ones and create new strategies in 2013. What is the most valuable lesson that Social Media Marketing team at Link-Assistant.com learnt? No matter how good, creative and outstanding you are, it's better to keep track of everything that's happening on the internet, because you never know what you may come up with after reading one of these “top 5 social media successes of 2012” posts.
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