A social web strategy according to Livingston is, “creating a meaningful way, a method, an overarching course, to attract and keep the attention of your stakeholders.” The most successful strategists research their audience and understand their needs before they engage. Only then do they determine which tool to use to reach them, what timing to employ and what tactics to use within those media or tools to achieve their goals and meet business objectives. Like the diagram above illustrates, the tools are just the tip of the iceberg. The strategic elements are what drive a successful social media campaign.
It’s easy to tell when social media strategy has failed.
The Motrin Mistake
Take for example Motrin – the painkiller medication. The company launched an ad showing mothers experiencing back pain and crying when holding their child, and that Motrin was there for them. Bloggers that were mothers found this ad to be patronizing and began tweeting and blogging about it. By the week’s end Motrin was caught in a firestorm. Because the brand was not listening, or monitoring social media channels, it took over a week for the backlash to subside. This took an apology from Motrin as well as its parent company Johnson & Johnson.
Now, let’s take a look at some social media strategies with all the right ingredients.
KLM Suprises it’s Customers
What they did
KLM used social media to make their customers feel special. Using Foursquare and Twitter, they identified passengers that had checked in at the airport and were waiting for their flights. They decided to reward those passengers with personalized hand delivered gifts.
KLM ran searches on the customers’ social media profile to determine their likes, dislikes and why they were flying in the first place. They then selected and purchased appropriate gifts on-line that matched their personality and hand delivered them to customers prior to boarding.
More than 40 people were presented with gifts and the campaign generated over a 1 million impressions on Twitter alone.
Why it worked
- They targeted the right audience, those customers already flying with KLM.
- Used social media tools to build personal, real connections – discovered that doing something that puts a real smile on someone’s face is better than attaching a smiley face.
- Happy customers were more likely to tweet about a good experience, recommend the airline to a friend or fly with KLM in the future.
- Listened to their customers, understood them and showed that they valued them.
- Focus was on building relationships and social media was just the tool.
- Empowered fans to create/share content and initiate discussions. “When a community embraces and takes on a topic of its own, word of mouth takes on a complex and most desirable form” (Livingston).
Volkswagen’s Interactive Twitter Campaign
What they did
Volkswagen used Twitter to promote their sponsorship of the Planeta Terra Festival – the most popular music festival in San Paulo, Brazil. They hid tickets to the festival all over the city, and shared the location using a map. The catch was that the map would only zoom in on the area to reveal the locations based on how many people tweeted the hashtag #foxatplanetaterra on Twitter.
The campaign was a huge success, after 2 hrs the #foxatplanetaterra was a trending topic in Brazil
Why it worked
- The campaign targeted the right audience, the local people of San Paulo, attending the festival.
- They integrated the online element with a real world – a treasure hunt.
- The content was simple, engaging and creative. They took what their audience wanted, tickets to the festival and made it available to the first person to get to the secret hidden location.
- It got people to engage with the brand by having them hunting all over the city.
- Their target audience spread the word for them. Since the map would only reveal the location when more people were tweeting their message, customers got what they wanted by spreading Volkswagen’s message.
- They kept their campaign simple but did it really, really well. There was no expensive or complex app involved. People get discouraged if there is too much work involved or the effort outweighs the benefit.
The Smashing Pumpkins’ Visual Campaign
The band the Smashing Pumpkins used a visual social media campaign to engage their fans. The social media campaign titled “Imagine Oceania” was a promotion of the band’s new album “Oceania”. The band targeted the bands fan base by asking them to design visual interpretations of lyrics or song titles. It was originally posted through the photography blog |JPGMAG.com. The selected artists work was turned into limited edition posters signed by lead singer Billy Corgan and the rest of the band.
Other artist submissions was exhibited on the bands other visual social media outlets, including Pinterest, Storify as well as Twitter and Facebook.
Why it worked
- By posting the challenge on a blog they attract users who are already familiar with digital technology and would be more likely to compete.
- Targeting artists who are also Smashing Pumpkins would entice people that would want to be recognized the band.
- It was designed to crowd source by asking fans to participate engage and share on social networks.
- Those who participated were rewarded by sharing fans work through their varied social media outlets and getting them exposure (the Smashing Pumpkins Facebook page has nearly 2.5 million fans).
- Found that their audience enjoyed specific information and had specific interests and created a campaign that was relevant to them.
Have you come acress any out of the box social media campaigns lately?