Saturday, 28 December 2013

End of Year - Best Social Media Campaigns

Although the approaching holiday season should have seen the hordes of social media addicts thinning and instead focusing on more wintry activities, the digital era has changed the way we look forward to Christmas. Most brands are riding the trend and trying to capture our attention through competitions and viral videos. There are a few campaigns that stand out for me.

Rightmove’s 12 Days of Christmas

Although this competition run on Facebook by Rightmove property portal isn’t anything spectacular, I had to include it because they’ve finally realised the purpose of running competitions via social media. Back in 2011, they did a Christmas competition just like the majority of other brands. How do you promote it? Just stick it on your blog and hope people will click through to the Facebook page? Well, this was a totally wrong approach. They changed the game in 2012 and it was a success – 50,000 entries and interactions. For this year’s competition it’s simply been rinse and repeat. What’s the secret then?

Marketers should understand that a purpose of running a promotion via Facebook is to catch the attention of new potential customers/visitors, expose them to the brand and eventually convert them into website visitors. If you post your competition on your own blog, all you do is send traffic to Facebook. It has to be the other way round – let Facebook send traffic to your site!

In order for a competition to be successful, it has to be promoted via Facebook ads – it lets you target the audience so narrowly that you should be able to amplify your content within a demographic sector that you want your brand to be exposed to. And of course, narrow targeting is also how you keep the professional compers at bay.

Another takeaway from the Rightmove’s promotion is how to pen the competition challenges to maximise the interaction. Most brands will simply do quiz-type questions with multiple choice answers. People try to guess the answers or look them up on search engines, post them and leave the page. Rightmove, on the other hand, chose to use survey-type questions. For example: "Which X Factor judge would you most like to have round to your house for Christmas dinner?" This is a pretty clever question. You won’t be wrong to assume that this particular Facebook post received a lot of interaction. It’s 2,317 likes, 281 shares and a whopping 2,692 comments to be precise! During the most active week at the very beginning of the "12 Days of Christmas" competition they acquired 4,996 new page "likes." Well done!

Y UGC = GR8?

UGC or user-generated content is often neglected by social media managers. It’s a great shame because there are two main reasons why UGC is great. Firstly, Facebook and Twitter users are more likely to respond to peer content than to brand-generated content. There is that element of spikiness and rebelliousness when it comes to sharing or liking a brand experience – especially amongst young people. When, on the other hand, they’re encouraged to share something they or their friends have created, they’ll be eager to comply. All the brand page has to do is act as a platform, enabling this interaction.

The 2nd benefit of UGC is saving time. If you run a Facebook page (or two), you’ll know how difficult it is to come up with cool memes, lolcats and videos to amuse your fanbase. When you encourage fans to submit their own content, you can actually free up valuable time to concentrate on the promotional side of things.

One of the best examples is the official Facebook account of the London Eye (see the Photo Competition tab). It’s fair to say that the majority of this type of competitions are staged on Instagram and very few people seem to utilise the wonderful functionality of Facebook comments which allow fans to upload and attach a photo directly. You don’t even need an expensive custom Facebook app to pull it off. Homebase has recently discovered this neglected functionality by posting a Christmas Lights mini-completion on 12th December. Although the prize is rather dubious (would you really want to own a festive nodding reindeer?) and they don’t normally get much interaction on their regular posts, this had received 7 UGC submissions within its first few hours.

Give Bigfoot a Big Hand

Instead of building yet another company-centred Facebook page, McWhinney’s Sausages have concentrated on pushing their main brand – the Bigfoot Sausages. It has paid off. You could argue that a 100+ year old family business with a charismatic owner at the helm will find it easier to attract lots of eyeballs than a corporate giant with a tarnished track-record, however, it’s not all about the charisma. There are lots of things on their Facebook page that they simply do right.

Firstly the artwork is clever. Of course, everybody understands that this stuff if blatantly photoshopped but in this case, "blatantly" makes it more fun. Also the meme-styled calls to action seem to be working well.

Their "12 Days of Christmas" promotion is scheduled to start on 13th December but they’ve started posting teasers as early as middle of November. That has helped them gain new followers even before the actual competition because people will "Like" the page to make sure they don’t forget to enter.

At the end of the day, how do you know if your Facebook strategy is successful? Well, in case of the Bigfoot, with just 13,000 fans their posts keep achieving almost the same level of interaction than Rightmove’s with 67,000 fans. Must be doing something right!

Charlie Bit Me Does Top Gear for Renault

If Hyundai mocking the Top Gear boys wasn’t enough, Renault UK has decided it’s their turn now. For the last fortnight Renault has used their popular Facebook page to share series of multimedia posts introducing their latest electric car. It’s an unusual approach because typically the professional social media managers tend to space things out. The latest instalment is a video featuring kids you may well be familiar with. If you’re a fan of RudeTube, You’ve Been Framed and that sort of thing you will remember a few years back there was a popular video of a toddler biting his brother’s finger. "Charlie Bit Me" went on to become one of the world’s most popular viral videos.

Six years later there are not two but three brothers (congratulations!) and the video has accumulated 600+ million views! Although the family insisted they didn’t want to commercialise the kids, they’ve eventually launched their own merch line, guested on Richard and Judy, done ads for Ragu Pasta Sauce and other activities netting them hundreds of thousand pounds. Now they’ve teamed up with Renault to help them promote the new electric car Zoe.

The kids are featured as the Top Gear presenter lookalikes. Yes, you guessed right, the smallest boy is starring as Richard Hammond. Renault gets kudos for the idea but the execution so far, I’m afraid, doesn’t warrant the highest scores. In its first day the video attracted some 3,800 views which is pretty poor considering Renault UK has got 175,000 Facebook fans. But bear with us, this is just the first video of a series and it should get better because the kids are doing really well.

This was my selection of well-executed Christmas promotions. Have I missed anyone? Please add your thoughts below.