With many brands firmly on the social media bandwagon, it’s increasingly difficult to rise above the crowd.
It wasn’t that long ago that simply being on social media was enough to provide a brand with differentiate. That first-mover advantage has quickly disappeared as having a social media presence has become table stakes for many brands.
So, now what? How do brand enjoy social media success when everyone else is battling for the spotlight?
The most straightforward approach is simply being super-engaged to attract and nurture a large community. By throwing in some interesting content, interactivity and some free goodies along the way, brands can have various degrees of success.
But if brands really, really want to stand out, they need to be creative and think out of the box. At the same time, they have to be willing to experiment and leverage social media as part of an overall marketing plan.
A great case study is WestJet Airlines, which recently set up a video terminals at airports in Toronto and Hamilton that gave flyers the opportunity to tell Santa want they wanted for Christmas.
When these people got off the place in Calgary, their requests – big-screen televisions, cameras, etc. – were waiting for them in the baggage area.
To capture the reaction, WestJet set up 18 cameras in Calgary’s airport. It then posted the videos on YouTube, and purchased ads on Twitter and Facebook to drive traffic.
The videos went viral and has attracted more 18 million views, providing WestJet with a huge social media and marketing win at a much lower cost than what it would have cost to advertise on television.
“In a social media environment, the sharing of it almost becomes the point itself: ‘Look what this company did, I find it engaging, I want to tell you about it,’” said Richard Bartrem, WestJet’s vice-president of communications and community relations, told the Globe & Mail. “It goes exponentially from there. It’s very alluring to marketers to say how can I engage in that?”
The key lesson for brands looking for social media success is exploring different ways to attract the spotlight. Not every brand has the budget or creativity to match WestJet but it should not stop brands from trying to be distinct or, at least, interesting when it comes to social media activity.
At the end of the day, brands are battling for attention on the social media stage. It’s a noisy, distracting and competitive marketplace so the ability to somehow capture the spotlight is becoming more important.