Often the challenge with Digital media campaigns can be injecting a bit of creativity. It is often the first port of call for many PRO’s to establish Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn pages for their company or brands and invariably, the digital strategy stops there.
Of course these outlets, where appropriate, are quite rightly the foundations of digital strategy, but sometimes what is called for is a creative campaign to spark the imaginations of the public and get your service or product in front of the masses.
Once such campaign that really ticks the creativity box is David Cameron’s Bee Beard. The campaign aims to highlight the plight of the honeybee to David Cameron by creating a Twitter petition. Every time someone tweets in support of the campaign a virtual bee is added to David Cameron’s beard. Once the campaign has received 10,000 messages of support, they will be delivered to number 10 as a petition.
The campaign is effective because it is imaginative and original, but also because it has a clear purpose and link to its target audience. Always a key consideration to bear in mind when brainstorming your creative digital campaigns…
As digital prefect, I have long harped on about the power of Twitter and the opportunities is provides companies to form key partnerships, and provide access to otherwise unreachable contacts…but the micro-blogging site has actually provided three budding entrepreneurs with investment opportunities.
Earlier this week, the Daily Telegraph reported that Simon Dolan has invested £800,000 of a £5m investment pot in three business he found via micro-blogging site Twitter. Taking the concept of the elevator pitch…or the Twitter pitch…to a new level, Dolan chose the three companies from hundreds of hopefuls who sent him 140-character tweets explaining their business propositions.
In the article Dolan explains that he came up with the idea in an effort to find a use for Twitter. And what an incredible use it was. The remarkable thing about this Twitter-fairytale is not just the success story for the entrepreneurs but the application and trust placed in the platform by Dolan. To choose investment opportunities based on just 140 character pitches (though I have no doubt he did his background research too) really demonstrates the shift that digital media is creating towards less is more and transparency.
It is important that every company, and individual, can sell themselves in this succinct way….so I encourage you all to think of your own twit-pitches…for yourself and your company; how would you secure investment/win a pitch/secure a job position in just 140 characters…it is actually quite a challenge.
Answers on a postcard just isn’t appropriate for this one…so answers in a tweet! (Or just posted below…).
I read with interest Mark Ritson’s article in Marketing Week, rebuking his client for big budget spend on social media and pointing out that Facebook, Twitter and the like only reach a small percentage of a companies stakeholders (largely of course depending on who those stakeholders were). It was wonderfully refreshing to see a Marketing professional that doesn’t blindly jump on the social media bandwagon, but instead recognises that its merits need to be weighed up against a companies individual marketing requirements.
Refreshing though it might have been, I do feel that Ritson also missed the point – social media should not be about mass marketing and reaching out to millions of consumers in the way that advertising or direct marketing might. Rather, it is about a targeted approach, providing useful and interesting content to the digital generation on platforms that they already actively engage with. It allows the opportunity for engagement and collaboration with companies and brands, but it does not enforce this.
If companies ignore this opportunities they neglect to even open the door to engagement and collaboration.
Ritson is also right that it does not need to command a major chunk of marketing budget, but the investment with social media is largely time and that does need to be realistically accounted for.
Social media should be integrated into the wider marketing mix, not necessarily as a predominant element (though again that is dependent on the company) but as another string to the bow, and this in itself emphasises the need for strategy.
This does not have to include an arduous process of months of consultation and a 100 page report before social media strategies can be implemented (by which point things will have moved on anyway) but it should include a thorough analysis of what a company hopes to gain from social media, how this can best be achieved and a realistic exploration of the platforms available to implement this.
So..the social media election that we were promised turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. There weren’t any particularly awe inspiring tweets from party leaders, no furious tapping away on blackberries and despite strong online support for the Lib Dems (Nick Clegg ‘won’ each television debate according to Facebook voters) this did not materialise into votes.
Don’t get me wrong, social media campaigns were launched by the parties, but it seems to me they were mainly half-hearted attempts:
The Conservatives, launched an iPhone application at the beginning of March offering news from the Conservative campaign, a guide to all the party’s key policies, and a mechanism to make party donations. Hardly a vote winner for the undecided. They made a slightly better stab at the social media jungle on voting day by placing an advertisement outlining their “contract” with voters on YouTube. A quick way to reach up to 10 million people – but was it too little too late?
Labour, meanwhile, made their digital media foray through mobile and social networking – sending a mass text message to supporter urging them to encourage others to vote Labour and releasing an application for Twitter and Facebook allowing users to change their avatars (or profile pictures) to ‘I’m Voting Labour on May 6’. But was it successful – I did see few of these cropping up on my Twitter feed (and actually found it quite irritating), but none on Facebook. And is preaching to the converted really the way to sway voters…
The Lib Dems were hailed as Kings of Digital with the most ‘user friendly website’ and commanded social media attention with Twitter #iagreewithnick hashtags and YouTube responses on the same theme and Facebook flash mobs in Trafalgar Square – but these were produced by users rather than initiated by the party itself. User generated campaigns should arguably be more influential, but as I have already noted, this support did not convert into votes.
But where social campaigns were lacking, there is no denying that there was a lot of talk about the general election, particularly surrounding the television debates and the run-up to election day. Perhaps it is enforcing the message that we do not want to be preached to on social media, we want to debate and share our views with like-minded peers. It was the people that made the social media election – not the politicians.
We all know that Twitter is the social networking tool to use to connect people. How could we not? We are told so all of the time. But few of us actually believe it, or better still act on it.
Yesterday, however, I found myself re-enthused by Twitter’s ability to connect people. Why, I hear you ask? Because I received a tweet from Radio 1’s Tim Westwood. Not strictly a business connection, but bear with me, there is a moral to this tale. My tweet from Westwood was a response to my own tweet commenting on his humorous contribution to the Chris Moyles show. My tweet did not request a response, and nor did I expect one, but simply be mentioning his name as an @ reply I found that he did the same by return. And it was very exciting.
Now I am sure that many of you would argue that a tweet from Westwood would not help your marketing or business strategy. And I am sure you are right, but it does demonstrate how Twitter can connect you with people that you previously found unobtainable.
Last month I also received a response to a Tweet directed at Sam Baker, editor of my current favourite magazine Red (I am slightly fickle when it comes to my magazine reading habits..). Again, it was only jovial banter, but Sam has previously referred in her editor’s letter to Tweets she has received on a particular topic that has later informed the direction of particular elements of the next month’s magazine.
Twitter makes people that were previously unobtainable to the masses, such as celebrities, sports stars, MPs, journalists, suddenly accessible. It provides the mechanism to make personal contact with others, whom you might not otherwise be able to contact.
Admittedly, neither of these examples has allowed me to build up a relationship with Westwood, or Sam nor have they provided me with any business gain. But they do show the possibility that Twitter allows.
I am sure you have all read hundreds of examples of how businesses have connected with partners, potential clients, consumers and trade associations online. But now is the time to stop reading about it, and start doing it for your own company.
The opportunity it there, it is up to you to engage and use Twitter to your best advantage….take the opportunity to connect with the figures within your industry that have previously seemed unobtainable.