Using Social Media in Marketing : Part 5

Putting The Media In Social Media

Beyond communicating directly with potential customers, Social Media can be used to extend a campaign or reinforce a brand by using these outlets to publish content. This content should be bespoke web content. Created to engage viewers and build awareness around your brand, ultimately designed to turn customers into evangelists through viral networks and word-of-mouth advertising. Podcasts, live streamed events, online games: just some of the possibilities to take your brand into uncharted waters.

Branded content, the new paradign in online advertising, is an emerging form of content that presents an ad disguised as content. This is not a sneaky attempt by an advertiser to coerce a viewer into watching. In fact it is very specific content created to offer value to the viewer beyond simple “Here’s my product. It’s for sale”. From expensive, high-production value mini shows to lo-fi videoblogging, there is an entire universe of possibilities to explore. The point is to be subtle with sales proposition, avoid hard-sell “Get It Now” messaging, and focus on interesting and relevant topics that surround the brands ecosystem. The content could narrative and dramatic or comedic, with subtle product placement or subtle pre-roll/post-roll branding. Or it could take an educational tone, how to get the best out of the product, or tips on associated topics not directly related.

The gold standard in many people’s eyes for branded content is still Blendtec’s Will It Blend series. Here each week a white-coated lab tech puts various common (or sometimes, not so common) objects into one of the companies heavy duty and premium priced blenders to see it said object will, like the title says, blend. As well as being extremely entertaining and sometimes incredible, the show highlights the strength and efficacy of the industrial strength blender. Some blended objects of note include iPhone, iPad, an XBox360, glow-sticks, even Justin Beiber got the Blendtec treatment. It has been a remarkably successful foray into the medium by one of the pioneers of branded content.

I recently worked on a show for XTM R/C Cars. Two show hosts took a detailed look at the features of a new car in their product line-up. Rather than make a very dry features/benefits pitch, it was dressed up like a TV show, with a set, beautiful graphics and some clever videography. An infomercial may not sound like the sexiest ad content, but bare in mind the niche targeted audience one can reach online that TV advertisers cannot. To an R/C car fan this content hits the mark, it’s engaging and informational, and it speak their language. And after the show is over, the XTM brand is implanted and associated with some very cool media the viewer is much more likely to remember, and more importantly – share.

Well. thats this series wrapped up. Thanks for reading if you made it all the way to the end. I hope I managed to inspire you to go forth into the social web and be heard. Fire up that Facebook page, that Twitter page, that blog and start creating. If you have any questions about where to begin, or what to do next, leave them in the comments or fire me off an email. And of course if you have any interest in creating some branded content of your own, influxx is always happy to offer a free consultation.

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