Archive for category Social Marketing

Sitting with the Geeks at The Hunger Games World Premiere

Hunger Games SutherlandI am one of the few people on the planet who has already seen the Hunger Games movie. I have never had more people–men, women and children–ask to be my date until the day I found out I would be getting a ticket to the premiere. The key word in that sentence is “a” ticket. I got ONE.

It all started back in August of 2011 when I accepted a job at Crowd Factory, which is a company whose product is social media widgets. My boss is the one who divvies up the accounts, and I was privileged enough to end up with Lions Gate Films. So far I’ve been part of the social media teams for Abduction, One for the Money, Good Deeds, and now Hunger Games.

I spent most of last year eating, breathing and dreaming up ways to make the Hunger Games fans engage online. I worked diligently with some very creative people at Lions Gate and two external digital agencies. My tiny piece of the pie in all of the Hunger Games digital magic was the “Race for Mayor” campaign on the 13 District Pages (12 Districts and The Capitol) on Facebook.

At 4:30 am on Monday November 14, 2011, there was an open conference line for the incredible group of people with whom I had spent so much time building this amazing immersive experience with. When the Hunger Games movie trailer went live at 5am we simultaneously pushed 13 new Facebook tabs to the District pages on Facebook and held our breath, waiting to see if the fans would respond. The CTA (Call to Action) was simple: I Want to Run for Mayor!

Within a week there were thousands of fans running for mayor. They had created video campaigns on YouTube, and Facebook pages to get people to endorse them, because you see there was a hook. The fan who got the most endorsements would be elected mayor of their District on Facebook, and at the time what they didn’t know is that they would also be invited to attend the world premiere of the movie in Los Angeles.

On Monday March 12, 2012, I proudly sat in Row A of the Loge section at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles with a group of geeks I had spent countless hours on the phone with, but had never met in person. I was grinning from ear to ear when Joe Drake, the President of Lions Gate, came out on stage to introduce the movie and commented on how wildly successful the marketing effort had been for the film so far. According to Fandango, Hunger Games has outsold Twilight Eclipse in pre-sales, making it the most successful pre-sales movie on record.

Then the lights dimmed and adrenalin took over as some of us saw the film for the first time. After the credits rolled we all made our way to the after party. I watched the newly minted stars enjoy their exploding celebrity status, and the veterans like Donald Sutherland graciously pose for photos with everyone who asked, including me.

There were so many moments that evening that were once-in-a-lifetime type moments. The palpable anticipation in the theater before the first frame of the film appeared on screen, and the excitement when the final credits rolled and we all realized we helped create this phenomenon. But the moment that I will never forget was when someone who I really respect at Lions Gate introduced me to someone as a “social media genius.” That made the journey all worthwhile.

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Recent articles:

How ‘Hunger Games’ Built up Must-See Fever. – New York Times

‘Hunger Games’ Dominates Facebook, Online Ticket Sales – Mashable

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My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media

social-media-platformsI make a living in the world of social media. There, I said it.

I’m the one behind the Facebook tab trying to get you interested in seeing that movie. I’m the one behind that flyaway trip to see your favorite artist backstage. I’m the one who advises clients on how to engage you so they can market to you.

Please don’t shoot the messenger.

I am also the one who has never clicked on a Facebook ad, and thinks that the new Facebook Timeline is looking more and more like the cluttered MySpace Titanic right before it hit that social network iceberg and sunk a few years back.

When I help a client design an engaging social experience online I always ask myself, “Would I click on that?” before I recommend or implement anything. I am not a typical user, but I’m your canary in a coal mine. I have a very low threshold for social media BS.

And speaking of BS, there’s no such thing as a “Social Media Expert.” It’s a nascent industry that’s just hitting puberty. It’s like trying to fully understand a teenager. You can’t. And anyone who tells you they fully understand a teenager isn’t living with one.

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Every Trip to Paris Starts with Twitter

I am sitting here in a charming apartment in Paris, drinking espresso and enjoying the peace and quiet, which has absolutely nothing to do with Twitter. However, my journey to Paris began yesterday with the following tweet to @Delta:

 

 

 

To which Delta replied:

I was already settled into my seat on my flight from Portland to Salt Lake City when I received this tweet from @DeltaAssist and had just enough time to send a message with my confirmation number before the crew told us to turn off our phones.

I settled into a fascinating conversation with my seatmate, who was headed to Athens via the same Paris connection I was worried about missing. We were two cocktails in and deep into a political conversation when a flight attendant came up to me with a little sheet of paper and said, “You will make your connection. You’ll have plenty of time.”

And this is the power of Twitter.

I tweeted an issue when I was sitting at the gate in Portland. Delta customer service answered me as I boarded the plane. I sent them my confirmation number so they knew exactly who I was and what flight I was on. They sent a message to the flight attendant on my flight, who then relayed the message to me.

That my friends is brilliant customer service.

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She Likes Me, She Likes Me Not. What is the Value of a Facebook Like?

One of the most frequent requests I hear from customers is, “I want more Likes on Facebook. How do I get more Likes?” What is a Like worth anyway?

Likes were originally conceived to give brand fans a way to publicly declare their love and their loyalty to you, but their value has been diluted over time because they have become so pervasive. There are Like buttons on corporate pages, order confirmation pages, photo sharing sites, and now the analog version of “Please Like us on Facebook” printed on your retail receipt. We all want to be “Liked,” but the truth is the vast majority of people who Like your Facebook page never return.

So the question you should be asking yourself is not how do I get more Likes, but how can I monetize the ones I have.

Discovering the currency of your brand fans.

A Like is worth nothing if the person who clicked the Like button never engages. So how do you engage your brand fans and empower them to bring you more Likes? Find out what the currency of your fans is and “pay” them. Put yourself in the shoes of your fans and ask yourself why you would come back to the brand page.

Some examples of currencies and payouts:

  • Healthcare: your currency is knowledge and information. Your fans expect up-to-date articles on healthcare, links to groundbreaking studies, and a forum for questions.These are the items they would be willing to share to their network.
    Bright Idea: Create a custom Facebook tab called “Clip of the Week,” and share a different health tip video every week, and encourage people to share and comment.
  • Music Artist: Your currency is exclusivity. Your fans want to be the first to know that you’re eating a burger at a dive in some little town between tour stops. They want their friends to know that you just released a new single and they got the download before anyone because they Liked your page. Update your page with personal status updates on a regular basis so your fans have a reason to come back.
    Bright Idea: Create a Facebook tab with a Like Gate and a link to an exclusive download of your latest single.
  • B2C: You assume your currency is the all mighty deal and the discount, but that’s not always true. Status updates about product discounts result in the lowest rate of interaction  of all Facebook posts. Your best currency is opinion. Create a weekly poll and ask your fans for their opinion. This will engage your fans, give you a high rate of interaction, and encourage them to share the content out to their network.
    Bright Idea: Create a poll that lets fans vote on the next flavor of ice cream you’ll produce, a limited edition color for a car, or a new menu item.

It’s not always about money.

The bottom line is that monetizing your fans doesn’t always mean selling them something. If you keep them engaged you will earn their trust and loyalty over time, and they will be more likely to buy when you do present them with that offer.

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And the Primetime Emmy® winner for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media is…

The Interactive Media Peer Group is the fastest growing peer group in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), which is no surprise to those of us in the business of interactive. There are 450 active members of the Interactive Media Peer Group, and I am proud to say I am one of them.

Esther Lim (Social Media Consultant at  Altimeter Group), Rhett McLaughlin (Rhett & Link  Commercial Kings), Kelly Jo Horton (CrowdFactory), Link Neal (Rhett & Link  Commercial Kings), Howard Meltzer (CSA, Casting Director).This year I was privileged to be a part of the “Blue Ribbon Panel” that selected the 2011 Primetime Emmy® winner for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media. I brought Crowd Factory CEO Sanjay Dholakia along to be my +1 for the experience.

The event was hosted at ATAS in North Hollywood on Thursday August 25th, and MC’d by Rhett & Link, hosts of IFC’s “Commercial Kings” . The theme of this year’s event was “New Orleans,” and you would have thought the party planners had paid off Mother Nature to cooperate with the theme, because the thermometer topped 103 degrees that day. Sanjay and I arrived at the venue at 4pm and had a chance to do a little mingling with the rest of the attendees before heading into the auditorium to score this year’s top five contenders for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media. This year’s nominees:

  • ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy Sync; ABC.com, Nielsen, Gravity Mobile, Shondaland
  • Conan O’Brien Presents: Team Coco; TBS.com: Team Coco Digital
  • Fringe: Division; Fox.com: Warner Bros. Television, Bad Robot Productions
  • Late Night With Jimmy Fallon; NBC.com: Gavin Purcell, Producer; Sara Schaefer, Producer; Jimmy Fallon, Producer; Robert Angelo, Producer
  • Oscar Digital Experience; ABC.com: Disney ABC Television Group; Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Each team presented a narrated video showcasing their entry, and then Rhett & Link asked some hard-hitting questions like, “Does that high-pitched sync technology freak out all of the dogs in the neighborhood?”

When the presentations were over, those of us on the voting panel scored each entry in each of these five categories:

  • Creative Achievement
  • User Experience
  • Visual Design
  • Enhancing the Story
  • Advancing Interactive Media

And yes, there really were people from Ernst & Young in the back of the room with brief cases collecting our ballots when we finished scoring.

Brian Rodda (Brian Rodda Consulting), me, Howard Meltzer (CSA, Casting Director)Once the business portion of the evening was out of the way we were all invited to toast the nominees with a signature “Digitini” cocktail created by sponsor Grey Goose Vodka just for the occasion. I don’t know what was in it, but it was a cool and refreshing respite from the heat of the day. We then made our way through the crowd congratulating the nominees, and exchanging business cards as we went. Sanjay had to run to catch a plane back to San Francisco, but I stayed to enjoy the Cajun food and catch up with my ATAS buddies.

And who ended up winning the Emmy?  The Creative Arts Emmys were held on September 10, 2011, in Hollywood and the Primetime Emmy® for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media was awarded to the Oscar Digital Experience.

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