Posts tagged twitter
Social Media is creating many unique ways to market and promote companies – and causes. One of the coolest, recent ones:
Water.org is surrendering its Twitter account, @water, for an entire week to the user who racks up the most votes on its site.
To enter, you must be following @Water on Twitter. Then sign up to participate with a short message on why you’re right for the job. The public can vote until August 31 on who should get the keys to Water.org‘s Twitter car. The winner will control the Twitter account from September 5 to 11.
Considering @Water has more than 425,000 fans, the contest — called a “Twakeover” — is a pretty big deal.
“One of our core pieces of DNA is empowering people to make a change,” says Mike McCamon, Water.org’s Chief Community Officer. “The people in the developing world, we don’t just give them a well, they’re involved in it, it’s community driven.” Closer to home, Water.org encourages its audience to donate more than its money — the organization wants your voice and your social status, too. It was only fitting, says McCamon, to honor those efforts by donating Water.org’s own voice for a week.
Still, it’s a bit of a gamble. The contest could be spammed by someone looking to get more followers. The winner could go off on personal tangents. So McCamon and his team have drafted rules to prevent any cheating or reputation-busting tweets. “I want to protect ourselves from a Weiner moment,” McCamon says. The winner will send McCamon their tweets and he will either publish them unedited or withhold them altogether. You won’t see strings of profanity or offensive content.
But McCamon is confident that he won’t really have to do any policing. He trusts the Water.org community will choose someone passionate about water issues — someone who might do a better job talking about the issues than the company. “Every organization is looking to grow,” McCamon says. “In the [contest’s] top 10 there might even be people that would come work for Water.org. It allows the audience to self-select its ambassadors.”
So far the contest seems to be populated by people wanting to make a difference. Still, Water.org’s unfailing trust in its audience (and the Internet, for that matter) is a show of digital bravery. Even if the contest goes awry, the organization’s twakeover is an example of turning all those buzzy terms — brand loyalty, openness, empowerment, interaction, dialogue — and putting them into honest, unpredictable action.
It’s a businesses greatest fear, but may very well be their most powerful tool: viral content. Over the past couple of years, the term “viral” has reared its head exponentially more and some have yet to understand the full meaning of the term when it’s applied to marketing and the digital atmosphere. Allow us to raise the curtain for you with wikipedia’s definition of viral marketing:
“Viral marketing and viral advertising are buzzwords referring to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of virus or computer viruses. It can be delivered by word of mouth or enhanced by the network effects of the internet. Viral promotions may take the form of video clips, interactive flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, or even text messages.”
The most important take-away of the definition: self-replicating viral processes. Next time you’re in a marketing meeting and someone blurts out “hey, let’s just make a viral video!” don’t succumb to the concept of sending it to your friends and family and expect them to send it to their associates. It is never the company or business that “makes” anything viral, it’s the audience that spreads the message. For your message to even have a fleeting chance at going viral, regardless of form, there are three requirements:
1. Make it genuine
2. Make it enjoyable
3. Make it memorable
From that point on, you are on your own, for the force is powerful and may turn against you. Social media and the closely connected internet has made it possible for negative comments to appear quicker than ever and spread like wildfire, sometimes forcing the hand of executives to act quickly and creatively for a (hopefully) appropriate response. Here are a handful of cases showing the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Old Spice Guy
If you have children between the ages of 12 and 24, there’s little doubt that they have heard of “the old spice guy.” Weiden + Kennedy, the ad agency for Old Spice, simply stuck a guy (well, a quite ridiculously handsome man) wearing a towel in a bathroom armed with a camera, some props, and a computer and wound up snagging the most prized Grand Prix award at the prestigious Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in June 2010 as well as a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial in July 2010. Users online were given the opportunity to ask the Old Spice Guy a question and a response would quickly be posted. The message was direct, enjoyable, and comical thanks to intuitive writing, making it irresistible for people to share the videos. The Old Sprice brand was not shoved down viewer’s throats, but the videos were enjoyable, genuine, and definitely memorable.
Domino’s Pizza Fiasco
In the spring of 2009, a video of two Domino’s employees surfaced and tainted the brand’s image with sights of the workers sneezing on ready-to-serve meals and even stuffing cheese up their nose and returning it to its proper place on the dish, of course with some extra “personal” ingredients. Within several days, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other sites helped this image-destroying video rise to over a million views, putting hot pressure on Domino’s executives to take action. Eventually, an apology was posted on the company website and current employees were even asked to spread the link through their own personal social media accounts. While the decision on whether to fan the flames or let it fizzle naturally is a tough slice to swallow, the company gained high marks for taking action and playing on the customer’s side of the field.
Taco Bell’s Mystery Meat
In January, 2011, a concerned California woman filed suit against Taco Bell with false advertising claims, stating that the advertised “beef” was actually more of a “filling” and didn’t fit regulated standards for considering the substance beef. As the news media caught wind of the story and began to air segments, Taco Bell was already hard at work getting to a viable solution. The first release was to an Alabama television station (WSFA) in a written statement: “Taco Bell prides itself on serving high quality Mexican inspired food with great value. We’re happy that the millions of customers we serve every week agree. We deny our advertising is misleading in any way and we intend to vigorously defend the suit.” Well that sounds great, but if someone did a simple Google search for “Taco Bell” what would they find? At first, the results were flooded about the lawsuit, but as the Mexican fast-food giant created online content through blogs, twitter, facebook, and other accounts, the sharing of positive content overpowered the negative, drastically reducing the lawsuit-related pages coming first in a search result list. To round out an aggressive stance on their passion for real beef, Taco Bell purchased a full page ad in the Friday, January 28th edition of the Wall Street Journal headlining “Thank you for suing us” followed by a full ingredient disclosure of their product.
If you decide to try making a viral campaign, make sure the resources used have the characteristics to naturally spread and be shared and if your brand ever encounters an emotional upset by someone who has access to a computer or a lawyer, be prepared to fight back with content—and quickly.