Posts Tagged ‘social influencers’

How to Craft a Viral Campaign in 3 Steps

October 21st, 2014

In 2012, only half of Americans knew of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after one of its most famous victims. The ALS Association, a nonprofit committed to raise money for research and patient services, raised a combined total of $19.4 million for that year.

Fast forward to today, and the ALS has raised over $100 million this year alone, most of which has been raised in the two month period of July and August.

As many of us know, it’s all due to one viral campaign: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge, in which one records dumping ice water on themselves or donates to the ALS Association, has been shared over 1.2 million times on Facebook and 2.2 million times on Twitter.

The campaign was so successful that critics started to worry about how the challenge would affect counties under severe drought watches.

Why did this campaign, out of all the others floating around on the Internet, go viral?

There’s not a lot we have control over when it comes to the “viralocity” of an image, video or idea. However, according to Malcom Gladwell, there are three elements that increase the probability:


The law of the few (Know who to target)

Malcolm Gladwell states in The Tipping Point, “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.”

Gladwell calls these movers and shakers of the internet realm “connectors.” These are people with the extraordinary gift for making friends and acquaintances. They have a multitude of followers on social networks, and when they mention something on Facebook, it is immediately shared 100 times.

These connectors can be people, a website or a news organization. People want to be connectors.

While in today’s society a connector can translate their social network directly into money or political power, most people simply want the rush they feel when their idea or link is liked or retweeted. A good idea in the hands of a few can spread like wild fire.


The stickiness factor (Good content)

The two reasons the ALS Ice Bucket challenge succeeded was because it was for a good cause, and it was easily repeatable. At the end of their individual challenge, the participant then had to challenge three of their friends to replicate them. As the campaign gained momentum, it even grew to include big-name celebrities, such as Oprah, Bill Gates and Steven Spielberg, taking the plunge.

The stickiness factor correlates to your core content, cause or campaign. Is it well thought out? Is it for a good cause? Will it make a difference in someone’s life? More importantly, is it memorable? The more memorable the campaign, the higher the stickiness factor, and the faster it spreads.

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B2B Social Marketing: 4 ways to build one-to-one relationships with social influencers

May 4th, 2012

According to MarketingSherpa’s 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, the most effective social marketing tactic you can implement is to build one-to-one relationships with social influencers.


Click to enlarge


What I found to be truly interesting about this chart is the third most effective tactic: posting content on company branded/managed blogs. In other words, the time I’m using to write this blog post would actually be better spent building one-to-one relationships with social influencers in our space.

Of course, because we believe so much in delivering true value to our readers, I’m sticking this one out.

But the chart does leave us asking a question:If building one-to-one relationships with social influencers is so important to a social marketing strategy, how do we do it?

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Social Email Marketing: KFC’s Double Down email launch

February 11th, 2011

Many consumers rely on social networks to help steer them toward wiser purchases. Some research shows that a majority of consumers do this. Scott Geiser, Senior Digital Analyst, KFC, is aware of the trends.

“It’s almost like consumers are shaping brands nowadays and brands are forced to be transparent… We know we are in that position and have to give our consumers ownership.”

Geiser handles KFC’s digital marketing, such as its website, email and social media efforts. Last year, his team needed to launch a new product, the Double Down. The breadless sandwich consisted of cheese, bacon and sauce sandwiched between two chicken filets.

Simple social and email tactic

“The first time we truly used social media to our benefit, we sent out an email with just a picture of the Double Down and links to share it in social media,” Geiser says.KFC Double Down Email

The team sent the email on April Fools’ Day, about two weeks before the Double Down would officially launch. The email included:

  • Subject line: “The KFC Double Down, it is real, no fooling”
  • Large headline: “It’s real”
  • Large product image
  • Message: “The Double Down coming April 12. Give your friends a heads up”
  • Facebook and Twitter buttons to share the message

After sending the email, the sandwich’s prelaunch marketing was mostly in the hands of KFC’s email subscribers and their contacts on social networks.

“We did not go to any other media outlet before launch other than delivering it via email,” Geiser says.

Social influencers in your email database

Geiser knew KFC’s subscribers had a passion for the brand, and he had a hunch that this simple email would spread some buzz. But his team was surprised by the level of response.

The message had almost a 40% open-rate and over 10,000 shares on Facebook and 2,000 re-tweets on Twitter.  The phrase “Double Down” quickly rose to #2 on Google’s Hot Search list and #3 on Yahoo’s Buzz Index, and several late-night talk shows mentioned the sandwich, he says.

“This was certainly one of our most successful product launches of the year and it all began with social media [and email]… It really taught us that our social influencers are very valuable,” Geiser says.

The results have helped energize the team to learn more about the social influencers in its email database and how to attract and satisfy more of them. KFC is now testing marketing efforts in these areas. Keep an eye on our Email Marketing newsletter in the coming weeks to see what they’ve uncovered.

Related resources

Social Marketing: Will you monetize social media and measure ROI in 2011?

Email Marketing: How your peers create an effective email message

Email Marketing Summit: 7 takeaways to improve results

MarketingSherpa Email Essentials Workshop Training

BlueHornet – team’s email service provider