The rise of social media is transforming the way ads are distributed online. The online publishers who get the most attention, and generate the most engagement, are no longer big media properties. They are internet celebrities on Twitter or Facebook, and, more importantly, they are the long tail of every-day social media users, who know their connections personally and engage in two-way conversations.
This evolution of online influence is not only fascinating, but constitutes a huge opportunity for marketers. The best way to take advantage of online influence, however, must be clearly understood. Experience tells that the key to social media marketing lies in finding ways to enrich the voice of the every-day user; this can be done in several different ways.
First, brands can leverage the relationship that exists between themselves and the customer, by providing the customer with every opportunity to express (and consequently share) his “love.” This is achieved by having the user engage with the brand and its material on a regular basis, once a connection is established.
A prime example would be users “liking” a brand’s page on Facebook, and then interacting with the brand’s content. Generating engagement from such connections constitutes the basis of social media marketing. Few brands are in a position to build such valuable connections though, because doing so requires high doses of sex appeal. Fortunately, there are other methods of attaining very efficient social media marketing.
Advertisers can provide users with special offers, the value of which is increased when shared via social media. Groupon is doing this by requesting a minimum number of buyers per deal, in order for the deal to be validated. This entices users to share deals they’re interested in.
This model of “viral promotion” is also the cornerstone of Dropbox’s success and can, on occasion, enrich users’ voice in social media. Other similar models include building branded-applications which make the most sense when shared, using Zynga as an obvious example.
What has been proven to most efficiently enrich the user’s voice in social media, however, is providing him with entertaining video content. There have always been people who want to attract the attention of others by being a social leader; funny, interesting, and standing out in a crowd. This fact has not changed with the advent of social media, and brands are increasingly utilizing video as a way to enrich the voice of internet users, in order to spread their messages through social media.
If done well, such video campaigns can deliver impressive results, primarily because this method addresses the desire of users to share remarkable rich-media content. Secondly, users don’t necessarily need a preexisting connection with the brand, in order to spread these branded messages. Users share the content, not the brand. The brand message is still being spread across social media, this time however, relying on compelling video content, as opposed to a specific bond with users.
The key component of this strategy is how such video content is seeded in social media (i.e. how viral-spread is initiated.) The best way to do this is to seed videos directly into social media, utilizing the users who generate the most interaction among their connections.
Few offers online exist as video-specific, and those that are, aim to leverage a network of celebrities, rather than the every-day user. However, what has been observed in social media is that this every-day user drives more engagement and much higher viral action rates, compared with the average internet celebrity. This is because the every-day user knows his connections personally and engages in two-way conversations with them. As a result, it’s clear to see that having 1,000 people seed a video through 1,000 friends each, is much more effective than 1 celebrity with 1,000,000 fans.
The key is to provide compelling video content to a fragmented network of every-day users. Every-day users would never share “pure ads” the way a celebrity might, as a blatant endorsement. People enjoy discovering great videos before anyone else, and this type of content enables advertisers to leverage the long-tail of social media users, who individually generate much higher viral action rates than any publisher could.
This is what we focus on at Wingsplay. Also, it’s just much more fun.
Olivier Lasry spent 3 years working in financial services at Ernst & Young, with clients mainly operating in the new tech / media industries. Passionate about the new technology industry and its disruptive forces, Olivier then created Wingsplay, the first viral video advertising network ever, which connects influential social media users with the best viral video advertisers.