A while ago, we had a thoroughly interesting discussion on our author mailing list about social marketing, and we received some real insights from our previously resident guru of social marketing, Mr Steve Campbell himself.
Like most things, I was highly skeptical. What kind of socially devoid person Facebook-likes Nike or Coca Cola just to get some marketing spiel pseudo-status messages fill up their Facebook homepage? Surely this new social marketing fad is just a bunch of stale baloney? Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is some merit to it after all, so I present to you 3 social media campaigns that got me, hook, line and sinker.
2 of these are UK-centric I should warn, but the principles apply worldwide. If you have a business presence on a social media outlet, read through to see just how you can reach even the cynical misanthropists like me. I have seen the light!
Old Spice Man
I’m sure you’ve all heard of this one, so I thought we’d start with something we can all relate to.
A failing brand with the image of being only for grandads.. what to do? Push it to a new generation of men by associating it with the manliest of me – Isaiah Mustafah – a man who men could aspire to be like, and women could aspire to be with. After hitting it off with the masses, a second TV spot was made and social media accounts created. The now notorious internet meme began.
Through a twitter account, fans could get direct contact with the man, who would them create a personalised video answering questions they posed. It was an expensive campaign perhaps, but it went viral. The Old Spice man became a legend to go down in meme history:
I fell for the marketing, and they got a sale or two out of me. I didn’t go so far as to actually interact on Twitter, but still – the image of the Old Spice brand was forever altered for me.
Sadly, some regard the campaign as a failure because it basically stopped dead. July 14th was the last video produced, and there’s been no real human interaction since then. I’m still of the opinion it had to have been a success to have reached even me, but I think we can all agree the potential to carry it on was wasted.
Appliance Online UK
The is probably the smallest campaign of the three, and it took a quite different approach. Appliances Online is an online-only appliances retailer in the UK (congratulations if you guessed that from the name). I bought a freezer from them a year or so ago, based purely on price comparison.
I recently got an email about a competition they were running on Facebook. The premise was simple – like their page, choose your dream appliance from their site, and submit your entry. The competition would occur on Friday, and there was a live stream to announce the winner. They would call you if you won, and you get your dream appliance. There was also a smaller competition for viewers of the live stream only to win a microwave by answering a simple question via email.
Why did it work for me?
Obviously, the promise of my dream appliance was a fantastic way to hook me in. A bonus prize for live stream viewers made sure I turned up to watch and participate. The host of the live stream, Yossi, is quite a character – really lively and able to whip up a storm of excitement despite the fact that they’re just phoning someone up and giving them a big fridge or dishwasher.
Yossi then took the time to personally email all of the competition entrants a few hours after the show – maybe it was a cut and paste email, but it certainly didn’t feel like it. This personal interaction is key.
I’ll be tuning in next week too for another chance to win! And in all likelihood, I’ll be buying my next appliance from Appliances Online.
Aleksandr Orlov – Compare the Market.com
This campaign covers TV and social outlets. If you’re not familiar, Aleksandr and the meerkats are characters created to promote insurance quote comparison site Compare the Market. The creativity of the TV advertising itself was sheer genius – explaining the plight of poor Meerkovian school children whose website – comparethemeerkat.com – simply can’t cope with the number of people who mistakenly visit it after trying to access comparethemarket.com
This is backed up by the incredibly cute Aleksandr having his own Facebook profile, where he posts regular status updates about his whereabouts or what have you, as well as hilarious pictures and videos for sneak peeks of the next ad in the series. As silly as it sounds, reading fake status updates from a lovable meerkat is possibly the best marketing tool to hit the UK in ages (and the ads won awards too).
Don’t scoff at this – this guy is singlehandedly responsible for a huge surge in the popularity of meerkats as pets!
My home insurance – up for renewal next month – will be going through CompareTheMarket.com, because not only do I get a competitive quote, but I also get rewarded with a cuddly meerkat character. Seriously:
What have we learnt?
We’ve seen a variety of tactics at play here, so hopefully you can take something from them. Some campaigns use personal engagement, some entice us with attractive giveaways, while some create a loveable character and fly with it. As someone who hates brands in general, I’m utterly shocked at how effective they have been against me. Do you have any examples of social media marketing that have really done it for you personally? Let us know in the comments!