As a result, a number of brands have followed suit. They create a page on each of those social sites. They hire a person or small team to post and respond. Once in a while, they try a new tactic – like a modest contest or sweepstakes. And when someone asks what the brand is doing as far as social marketing, they respond ‘Yes, we have our program in place’.
But today, that’s just not true anymore. Merely having a presence on the major social sites is definitely NOT a marketing program. People have Facebook and Twitter pages. Smart brands have well-funded social marketing programs.
SOCIAL HUNGER GAMES
Let’s take a quick look at two heralded examples of social media success. First is Hunger Games. The word on the street was that the marketing budget for this film – spent mostly around social – was $45,000,000.*
There were two new social games developed specifically for the film. An HTML5 demo site. Mobile phone apps. YouTube teaster videos. Individual fan communities and badges on Facebook. Tumblr initiatives. Endless traditional advertising teasers. Twitter campaigns. And a program of ‘turning traditional advertising into a series of social media events’. The film broke essentially every box office record, and has earned more than $450 million worldwide, so far.
SUPER BOWL VS. THE POLAR BOWL
Next is the ‘Polar Bowl’ from Coca-Cola. The brand realized that 60% of the Super Bowl’s audience of 111 million viewers would also be watching a second screen during the game. So they created their very own ‘Polar Bowl’ where the bears watched the game, reacted to ads, and of course engaged with fans on Facebook and Twitter in real time. The result? Nine million people participated on various social platforms.
Coke estimated that people would spend 2.5 minutes with Polar Bowl. Instead, fans spent an average of 28 minutes engaged with the brand.
So what can be learned from these two examples? First, it takes a substantial budget to deliver results like these. But more importantly, social works best when it’s integrated with other marketing tactics. And in particular, that means traditional advertising.
It’s perfectly fine to have a strong social presence. We heartily recommend it. But if you truly want your brand to grow, you’ll need to integrate social into a larger marketing effort. The more innovative that is and the better it’s funded, the stronger the results will be where it counts most: at the cash register.
*Footnote: The examples used here have deep pockets, and spent considerably on two large-scale marketing events. But whether you have five thousand or five million to invest, when you integrate innovative social ideas with advertising, you get significantly more bang for your buck.