Monday, 21 December 2009
If you’re handing out labels, 2009 was arguably the year of social media (in the Internet world, at least). Everyone and anyone seem to be climbing on the bandwagon at the speed of light. If you don’t believe, check out this nifty social media counter to see exactly what’s going on in the space in real time.
This was the year it became clear to all savvy marketers that if you want to have any sort of online presence, then you need to be across as many forms of social media as possible. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, Flickr, blogging – all these platforms and more will help you engage consumers and therefore boost your brand.
Now we’re into 2010 – and it’s crunch time. Your aim for this year should be to raise the bar and not only do social media, but to do it well. A half-hearted effort such as a Twitter account that is only updated once a month will not only do you no favours, but it could actually damage your brand.
There were many social media campaigns that stood out for me this year, some for the right reasons and some for the wrong reasons. A couple of the better ones were:
The Fun Theory: Volkswagen built this site to prove that “something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.”
People were able to submit entries demonstrating how they would creatively solve various problems. At the time of writing, submissions were closed but you could still vote on your favourite entries and leave comments. Make sure you watch the video for the Piano Staircase – guaranteed to make more people take the stairs over the escalator!
Bring It Back!: This is a local campaign devised for medical hair centre Ashley and Martin. In a similar way to the Fun Theory website, users can submit videos, pictures and info about things they’d like to bring back (as the name suggests). The campaign was devised by agency Thinq – you can read more about the process behind Bring It Back here.
Beat Cancer Everywhere: Proving that short and sharp campaigns are often the most effective, the Beat Cancer Everywhere initiative involved a one-day push exclusively on Twitter in October 2009. Each time a Twitter user mentioned the #beatcancer tag in their Tweet, eBay/PayPal and Millers Coor donated one cent to breast cancer research. In the space of 24 hours, nearly 700,000 Twitter users tweeted the tag, proving that social media campaigns work just as well for non-profit organisations (not to mention the goodwill created for the sponsors).
(Dis)honourable mentions should go Witchery Man, Toyota and, of course, the Vegemite iSnack 2.0 fiasco. Yes, these were all social media campaigns that attracted negative feedback and therefore failed dismally… or did they? Well, it depends on how you define success. At the very least, most people are aware of these campaigns and were talking about the brands behind them. It comes back to the “is any publicity good publicity?” debate.
Of course, these campaigns should provide you with inspiration, not a template for creating your own social media strategy. As they say, lightning never strikes twice and what worked for these brands won’t necessarily work for others – in fact, launching a “me too” or copycat attempt will most likely damage your credibility. The best strategy is to be bold, be creative and think outside the box to engage your customers.