There has been and will continue to be reports that tout the tremendous growth and popularity of both Social Media and Online Video. Marketing budgets have been re-allocated from traditional media to build brand presence in each growing field. Why not go after both, or in other words “social video?”
Wieden + Kennedy did so with the Old Spice “Responses” campaign. The Old Spice Man, Mustafa, recorded 181 additional funny videos made over a two day period in a call and response with celebrities and regular folks.
This engagement between character and fans led to success never seen before. Sales of the product and mentions of Old Spice online both spiked dramatically. The campaign took the all time spot atop the viral video world with over 6 million in less than 24 hours and 20 million in three days, surpassing even President Obama’s Victory Speech. But like most viral videos or campaigns, it was soon forgotten and everything went back to status quo, including Old Spice sales and Social Media mentions. The Brand did not continue to interact and engage with its fans and as a result the campaign ultimately did not capitalize on all the energy and excitement it created.
It happens all the time. You see a tremendously funny or heartwarming viral video, share it with a few friends, and then you’ll never see or think about it again. Brands interested in producing “social video,” don’t have to worry if every video they produce will go viral. Sure, viral videos can be useful in certain situations. They are great for showcasing a brand’s personality, or responding to something really hot in the current news cycle. But viral videos depend too heavily on metrics like view count, which can be easily manipulated.
In the SEO Industry Survey of 2010 put out by SEOmoz, a third of the respondents stated the most important reason their company uses Social Media is its ability to engage with their audience. That makes perfect sense. Of course you don’t just want your customers to view your videos, you want them to interact with your brand after viewing your video. To pull off a successful “social video” project, focus on these three elements:
1. Produce emotional content that requires the audience to engage with it.
2. Build a long term position. As in years or decades, not weeks or months.
3. Fosters a sense of community among the audience.
In eMarketer’s report 7 Trends for Video Advertising Engagement, two of the five most important marketing capabilities Media Executives try to acquire or develop are online video and user generated content. I’ll give you a real life and hypothetical example of a user generated online video projects.
Tostitos, like Old Spice, is a well established brand. Tostitos represents gathering with friends and family over a big bowl of chips and some salsa or guacamole to watch Football or the Oscars. It is similar in ancient times to breaking bread with your neighbor.
Not surprisingly, Tostitos did not have much presence in social media discussions. Lets be honest, corn chips are not the most exciting product in the world.
Goodby, Silverstein, & Partners created a long term “social video” presence called “Tostitos Reunite America.” The agency noticed that reunion videos on Youtube often went viral. For example, it can be emotional seeing a soldier return from Iraq to embrace his wife and kids.
Customers interested in “Tostitos Reunite America” can go on the Tostitos Facebook page and upload video clips requesting to be reunited. The reunion could be with a friend from their childhood or a long lost family member, or anyone they choose.
Other members of the Facebook community page vote for who they think most deserves to be reunited. The winners are reunited on Tostitos dime. The reunion and events leading up to it are filmed, edited, and run on TV and online. It positions Tostitos as a brand that cares about bringing people together.
Speaking of bringing people together, what brings a community more together than sports? I’ve been a massive Boston Celtics fan my whole life. Imagine if the Celtics ran a “social video” project where fans submit video re-enactments of their favorite Celtics play. My friends and I could meet at the local outdoor court and film a re-enactment of the “Havilcek steals the ball moment” and upload the video to the Celtics website. Other fans could vote on their favorite re-enactment and winning videos could be shown during one of the Celtics home games on the jumbotron.
Or fans could upload video discussing their favorite Celtics moment, game, or play of all time. Young fans might submit videos gleaming about their first ever live game, old fans might discuss how they felt seeing their first championship parade, others might remember meeting one of the players at a charity event.
Forget professional teams like the Celtics. Colleges and high schools should being using “social video” like this as well. This allows fans to build an even stronger bond with the brand as well as foster a deeper sense of community amongst other fans.
The Old Spice campaign was a smashing success while it engaged with fans. But because the campaign wasn’t built to continually engage with customers, it lost all momentum a couple months later. Tostitos Reunite America on the other hand is a young “social video” project. But they plan to stick with it for the long haul. Assuming they do, you may find yourself reminiscing about what a great mentor your old soccer coach was and the next thought that pops in your head will be Tostitos of all things.
If you’re a marketer for a large brand, or represent them at a big agency, stop hoping every video every video pushed out gets extremely lucky and goes viral for a short spike of brand recognition. Instead focus on creating “social video” that engages and build a sense of community with your audience. If you stick with it for the long haul you’ll be rewarded with customers returning time and again to interact with your brand.
Tod Plotkin is Principal at Green Buzz Agency. Despite moving to Washington, DC in 1999, he still misses following the Celtics, Patriots, and Red Sox on a daily basis. His passion for video production is equaled by his love of peanut butter and jelly. Connect with Tod on Linkedin
This article originally ran in the debut issue of Social Media Monthly