[Warning, wide sweeping generalisation coming] So many companies are trying to break through with a low cost, high engagement social media campaign that goes viral – but few succeed. Social media should be treated as any other marketing channel. Success requires a good understanding of who your audience is, a strategy to reach that audience and a concept that connects with people on an emotional audience.
But it is fair to say that social media does run by different rules in many ways. It is because of this that businesses are coming up against issues where they either haven’t considered the implications of what is said on social media or they’re not using the medium to its greatest effect. Getting your digital strategy right and devising a plan where social becomes integrated into your business culture and brand vision can take time. Companies are wary of social media and while I think it’s become clear that its not a blip fad, we’re still figuring out how to make it work and how it fits into our bigger communication media mix.
There is a perception that social media is cheap, and it can be. BUT and this is a big but, social requires content. If your business already has bags full of content then they’ll be able to leverage social media without additional cost. But if your business model does not currently create content for their customers, users or audience, then you’re going to have to start. And that requires budget, resource and a strategy that integrates the social messages and content into the broader marketing strategy.
Yesterday one of my colleagues said to me “I thought social media was going to be the answer to all of our budget problems – we would be able to reach more people with our message for a lower cost. But every time I ask our social agency for a solution, they tell me I need a $2 million budget.”
So let me address this in simple terms.
Social media CAN be much cheaper than traditional advertising and media, but you still need a great message and hopefully a highly engaging piece of content to share with your community. That content can be in the form of an image, a blog article, a video or an offer. Social media content doesn’t have to be expensive (by big business standards), but like any successful marketing campaign, it requires thinking, a solid strategy and a great idea behind it to make it work.
Solo, an Australian soft drink brand, wanted to connect with a younger audience (as the heartland of their audience are older Australians who have been drinking solo since it launched in 1973) and support the Socceroos when they were competing in the world cup in South Africa in 2011. But because they weren’t an official sponsor and their budget wasn’t what they wanted, it required them to get creative. This is what Solo and their agency BMF came up with.
Solo hinged their idea on the delightful and somewhat risky insight that people are superstitious about their sporting teams and often have “lucky socks” or “lucky scarf” or in this case, “lucky undies”. And their campaign was born.
Solo produced 225,000 yellow lucky undies that consumers could get as a gift with purchase or by ordering from their website. There was radio and online banner ad support but their primary efforts went into the short 1 minute video they produced and then handed the campaign over to the socceroo fans and let them run wild with it.
The Solo lucky undies absolutely resonated with the intended audience and Solo were rewarded with over 31,000 fan film views on social media. Their Facebook fans grew by 3,197 and became highly engaged posting images of their own and there were hundreds of social interactions, with photos, hashtag tweets and fan videos during the World Cup. And, the biggest success of all, the sales of Solo went up 22%.