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What people seem to share

April 21, 2014 2 comments

Ever so often I am asked by people what makes things go viral, or ‘how can I viral a campaign’.

And I have given the usual thing of ‘ if people find it interesting, they will share’.

But it seems that is too simple an answer. So I did a ‘scientific’ study of my facebook newsfeed and my twitter feed to look at what my friends, and those I follow share.

If this works for this demographic, which would be a marketers dream, it should work for most relevant, valuable segments. That’s my belief.

And it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong.

So here goes.

I have divided my findings into 2 categories.

Originated Content

Shared Content

 

Originated Content:

Hands down this is about their children. Their first walk, their first bath, their first day in school, their coming back from school, swimming medals, toys they made, toys they destroyed, rugby matches etc etc. Anything kids and you will see it.

The interest in sharing food pictures seems to have declined, if not died.

What does this mean for marketers? If parents are sharing so much about their kids then marketers need to find a way to be a part of this. At the simplest level brand should participate in all school events. Don’t wait for the big annual day things. Parents are proud of every single achievement of their kids. So create events, take part in class events, house events whatever. And give certificates/prizes. It builds bonds with the parent and she, and he, will share it with the world.

There is of course other originated content but it lags way behind wrt sharing, so I am not referring to it here. Sorry writers and artists.

 

Shared Content:

Again here I omit any content that is celebrity linked in anyway, as they have an unfair advantage. Same with music.

  • Humour: Head and shoulders over any shared content type is humour. Who doesn’t enjoy a laugh? And this is revealed in the fact that this category is so popular.

The rule seems to be ‘Silly is king’: While there are many types of humour, obviously, the one people like to share and retweet is the one I can only call silly. Think Over the top, slapstick, puns, cat videos etc. The ecards, George Takei’s stuff all fall into this category. And king of the heap is Gangnam Style.Followed by ‘What does the Fox say?’

Silly doesn’t have to be idiotic, though idiotic gives it added momentum.

Brand that come to mind that have used this well are Old Spice (Hello ladies), Samsung with Ellen’s selfie and even I would say VW’s Star wars ad.

Humour is hard but slapstick is easy and Old Spice and VW have shown that it can be done well. Very well.

A tactic that brands that are serious, can use, is to make memes of their own serious ads and make those humorous. The advertising agency will be happy to do this task so that the brand itself can maintain it’s ‘purity’.

If you create content that is ‘parodyable’ then there are enough people out there who will, and spread the word on the brand’s behalf. So shape content accordingly.

  • Human Interest: The next category that people share is human interest stories. Upworthy has made a business of providing just this kind of content. The ‘ When X did Y, you’d never guess what happened next’ formula. Besides this we all share in our friends’ joys and sorrows. We like, empathise and share it with them.

Obama’s 4 more years tweet was the most retweeted in the history of twitter before Ellen’s selfie.

Brand’s that play in this space such as food, health and nutrition, education, financial services and so on should look at creating/packaging content for the social media space wrapped in a human interest angle. Subsume the brand to the bigger arc and let your audiences share it for you.

  • See how smart I am: This is a relatively nascent category of sharing. This is putting in the hands of the customer information what she, or he, will share thereby showing how smart they are. TED talks are king of this pile. Who doesn’t share Ted talks? Whether they sit through the entire 18 minutes or not. The category of infographics runs on the premise that people will want to share information, whether they consume it or not. This is the digital equivalent of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

This is relatively easy to do. Collect a bunch of statistics. Put them into bright coloured charts and give them an intelligent sounding label. And you’re good to go. I jest of course, but if everyone read all the ‘information’ they were sharing there is just no way they’d be doing any work!!

So, there you have it.

My analysis of my timeline, newsfeed whatever.

Yours may be different, of course, though I think rather unlikely.

Next time someone asks me ‘how to viral a campaign’ I have a more ‘scientific’ answer.

Now I have some Economist articles to retweet. For example did you know China’s a growing market for private jets?

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What’s wrong with this picture?

Last week I went to a show and like many other shows I have attended they were very strict about banning photographs during the show.
Now, I understand completely that the flash from cameras can distract the performer. Many museums and art galleries, for example, allow photography but no flash.
But I am talking about a complete ban on any kind of photography.

To my mind this seems like a hangover from old fashioned thinking, which goes something like this : Don’t show the people what we do. Let them come and find out for themselves.

But this goes against what we have seen so frequently from time immemorial, and accentuated more recently since the arrival of social media, that giving people a taste gets them more attracted to the main event.

Many magicians do ban recording because they don’t want the trick to be given away. There is probably some merit in it. But as a lay man even if I see a video of someone making an elephant disappear I still want to go and see for myself.

In fact I think that video of the vanishing elephant is likely to be circulated more widely than a line in his/her press release and get far greater interest in the act.

Similarly I believe seeing pictures of a show, either on someone’s social media feed, or on an email has the potential to get spread far and wide and bring more people in to the show.

Perhaps while performer has a Facebook page and has accepted that customers lead the conversation they are still, like many big brands, trying to control the messaging rather than let consumers own it, spread it and bring more people in to the tent and rack up those dollars.

Attn bergs : Zucker and Sand..How to take on Google and generate millions of $ revenues.

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Short post as I am on holiday, and have limited network access..

We have seen 2 explosions in the cyber world in 2011.

e-commerce : This has hit stratospheric levels this year. From when the term made its debut a few years ago, some data I have seen suggests that this year over 1 bn$ worth of goods and services were traded just on cyber Monday.

Social Media : This year we saw Google make a huge push on to this space with G+ and they are pulling all their punches to make it a big success. Facebook’s responding with updates, modifications etc to stave them off.

An advantage Google has is their search engine. From what I understand, G+ data will be added to Google search results and perhaps end up giving brands better results with them ending up higher on search results.

There’s also growing research that suggests that consumers shopping on-line use social media to enquire of their friends before shopping. I have myself seen friends enquiring of others wrt brands they are in the market for.

Today Facebook’s Search function is completely under utilised. You can use it only to search for Names of pages..be it of people or brands. ie Your search result will only show you names of those who have pages.

My suggestion to the Bergs is to use that Search to search through people’s status updates as well. That way if I am looking for a specific brand the results will throw up updates of my friends who have mentioned that brand and I can see what they have to say.

This way my search in Facebook tells me what my friends are saying about something I am interested in.

It could be a product I want to buy, it could be a holiday spot I am scouting or even an ongoing event. My results get me immediately to what the opinions already out there are, and I can follow up with specific targeted Qs to the friend who’s said something useful.

The social media community is more trusted, richer etc and the search results are immediately useful and relevant.

So the next level of Search is to find out what my friends are saying about something I am searching.

Facebook knows what my friends are saying. They just need to add Search to it and they have immediately got to the next level of Search. And takes on Google in its weak spot as Google searches in the ‘white spaces’.

If I am a brand I want to be present when friends are talking about me or my category. Where better than when a Search is taking place amongst conversations and status updates.

Facebook looking for additional revenues has these Search results to be sold using targeted key words ads like Adwords.

So that’s my Santa present to Mark and Sheryl, if they are not thinking along those lines already..

May also solve the Yahoo problem..just saying.

 

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Brands as media

Came upon this great post by Brian Solis where he talks about Brands as Media.

He says, and I paraphrase..

Once brands react to events in the media through activities on various vehicles like FB, Twitter etc brands need to view their communications through the prism of a conversation calendar.

To this end media can be segmented into the following types

Owned media is essentially that brands. If they design it the content is theirs and they can manage what they publish within it Examples here would be web sites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts. Brands need to create such presences where their target audiences already spend their time. Actively go out and play a role in their lives.

Paid media is that bought by the media. Tends to be conventional media. And this still has a role to play in brand communications going forward. A great advantage of Paid Media is immediacy.

Earned media is the outcome of activities in Owned and Paid media. This is reflected in the blog posts, tweets etc of ones customers and prospects. Of course the great issue here is that brands have absolutely no control on this media.

Viewed in this way, brands need distinctive strategies to address each. Old models of structures and communications don’t work so well in this new context.

A good strategy earns the brand influence, just as media channels do in the ‘paid media’ world. This influence can work to the brand’s strength as it gives it control over media that historically it was subject to. And that is Nirvana for a brand where it is not dependent on what intermediaries think and communicate about them.

..end of paraphrase..

I thought it was a good article that neatly captured all the various scraps around social media, new media, old media and the ilk.

Whose copyright is it anyway?

January 26, 2010 17 comments

Today there was a bit of kerfuffle today amongst my ex company’s ex colleagues, including myself now having seen the film. ie friends at Ogilvy. From what I can gather, today being Republic Day, this film called Phir Mile Sur was launched/released. The reason we were rather agitated with the whole saga is that this film is based a lot on this film, Mile Sur Mera Tumhara.

When Mile Sur was released it took the country by storm. It generated a huge positive feeling of joy, patriotism and national unity amongst a normally cynical lot. It was rated amongst the best ever film of it’s genre and it spawned a rash of similar endeavours, all of which paled in comparison. Even today the film can give one goose bumps..I refer to the Indians of course

Now amazingly none of the publicity for this new film even refers to the creator of the original film, Mr Suresh Mullick, a legendary copy writer and creative director of Ogilvy India. And beyond that, a much loved man. This obviously made many of us who knew him, and were around when the film was made quite rather unhappy.

That led me thinking along the lines of giving credit when using someone else’s work. Beyond the obvious fact of due recognition, is the issue of copyright.

Looking at two vehicles that have gained tremendous traction recently..Facebook and Twitter, leads me to think that technology should make it more difficult to steal, but these two are going in the reverse direction.

Take Facebook for example. It is extremely easy to ‘share’ someone’s post on to your page. So the ease with which one can share what we like with our friends is admirable. But when you do this, you lose the name of the source. So unless the ‘sharer’ specifically mentions the source, the perception is that this material belongs to the person who shared.

Or from Twitter. Retweeting is very common ie passing along something you got that was interesting. Again most Twitter clients allow you the option of removing the name of the original tweet. Ends up with the similar situation as that of Facebook.

So technology that should prevent ‘stealing’ copyright is actually enabling and spreading it.

Then we start having the debate about IP and who owns it etc.

I don’t understand why the technology of today doesn’t embed basic ‘sharing’ and ‘RT” copyright for starters.

We need to start somewhere. The sooner we start with the widest impact the better it is to make a step forward. We need to make ‘acknowledgement’ part of the lingua franca of the generation coming up now in the age of Facebook and Twitter. This in turn leads to a greater understanding of copyright.

And going back to the point which I started, about Mile Sur..It is clearly conceived by Suresh. And now seeing people ‘remixing’ it without recognition is a symptom of the disease where copyright means little. The one who speaks the loudest or most often gets credit. That is a shame. And should stop!

Using Facebook Wisely

October 6, 2009 1 comment

As we know social media feeds and fuels the stream of consciousness publishing. Not just by you but amongst others too.

So secrets and rumours are out in full force. A friend tagging you in a picture has the same impact as you doing it yourself.

Wise to be safe.

While there have been many posts on the subject, I thought this article in NYT particularly useful.

It suggests 5 steps

Step 1: Make Friend Lists

Step 2: Who Can See What on Your Profile

Step 3: Who Can See Your Address and Phone Number

Step 4: Change Who Can Find You on Facebook via Search

Step 5: Stop Sharing Personal Info with Unknown Applications

Full article here.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

User generated advertising

September 28, 2009 2 comments

Thought I’d share an idea that I’ve been toying with for a while. A way, I think, Facebook and Twitter can generate revenues.

In this era of User generated content and ‘brands’ like Facebook and twitter which have high user engagement but little revenue I wonder if there is an opportunity to create a new form of communication.

I am calling this user generated advertising.

The principle is quite simple really.

There are three parts to this .

1. Creation : From a pre populated ‘tray’ of brand devices, owned by the advertiser, an user creates his/her own ad. eg If Dell’s array comprises the logo and the line ‘Take Your Own Path’, then an user can create an ad using those two elements and anything else she/he thinks brings the brand to life. Think of the tray as ‘mandatories’

2. Submission : This created ad can then be placed on the user’s own page on Facebook. Or his/her blog.

3. Payment : The advertiser pays the host eg Facebook per click. Say 1 cent a click. (all clicks lead to a generic landing page for onward discussion dialogue). The host splits this income with the creator/user.

This, to my mind, has many advantages.

For the blogger/Facebooker :

1. Money o f course

2. Fame through creativity

3. Another avenue to show off to her/his friends

For Facebook/bloghost

1. Money and a revenue model which they currently seem to lack.

The Advertiser

This is a great research tool.

Obviously user generated ads are likely to be far more customised than advertiser created ones. The ads will reflect the user and will be targeted at her/his friends.

Only bands that the user relates to will get ads created.

Only ads that are attractive/creative will get the clicks.

So an advertiser benefits from

1. Saving on advertising creation costs

2.  Getting highly targeted advertising

3.  Knowing the kind of advertising that appeals to which target profile

4. Provides huge testing opportunity as they can decide what needs to be in the ‘tray’. This can change by geography, season, user

A similar model can work for Twitter, where it is obviously copy driven and revenue flows by number of Retweets.

Does this sound like a workable model?

Will I get money if anyone picks up this and executes?

Thoughts/comments?

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