As another Social Media Week comes to a close, we thought we’d take the opportunity to have a look back over the last few days and pull out our highlights of the week – a textual montage if you will. Then I’m gonna hit you with one key takeaway. Then you’ll get some news. Then you can go. Okay? Great.
I’m gonna start with a story, pinched wholesale from Wednesday’s social and PR talk at the OVO Energy offices by Temple Quay. Terry Church from PR agency ‘Through The I’ was chairing the debate, and he kicked off the meeting by telling us about his friend, Erwyn.
Some background first. 10 years ago, Erwyn didn’t have a pot to piddle in, but he announced his dream to someday buy a classic Jaguar. There was much eye-rolling from friends who, frankly, couldn’t see it. He could barely get a round in.
But save he did, and buy this Jag he did. He started hiring it out for weddings, building up a nice steady stream of income until he could afford another car, and another, and another.
Today, Erwyn is hugely successful. The business went stratospheric, he made a bunch of cash, and his garage is now packed full of so many supercars that his mates are green with envy.
— Future Content (@ContentsFuture) November 16, 2016
The story goes, he’d just bought a brand new £180k Lamborghini Huracan to add to the fleet, sent the insurance and tax through, and was driving it back to London to his storage facility.
A white Lambo draws attention, so it was no surprise when he got pulled over by local police just by Heathrow Airport. When they ran his plates, however, the tax wasn’t showing. Erwyn explained he’d put the tax through, but the police databases take a couple of weeks to update; would they like him to send the email to them so they can see it? Yes, they would. He opened up GMail, forwarded the email to the officers and waited while they discussed.
“You could have just photoshopped that,” one of the officers said.
A debate ensued, and Erwyn lost. The car was to be impounded and he’d have to put in an official request to get the vehicle back.
That evening Terry got a call. Erwyn explained the story, Terry was somewhat confused about what he wanted him to do about it, but there was one bit of the story that made his ears prick up.
“The worst thing about it was that the policeman was speeding.”
“He was doing 60 in a 30 zone.”
“How do you know that?” asked Terry.
Turns out the car was fitted with a tracker, and Erwyn could monitor the speed of the car relative to the speed limit it was in. It was clear as day on a dashboard.
This got Terry’s devious PR mind ticking.
“Right, what you should do: send a tweet to the met police, tell them that one of their officers was speeding in your car and include a screenshot of the data.”
Erwyn sent the tweet.
— CitySupercars London (@citysupercars) June 2, 2016
Two hours later, he got a call from a Sun journalist. An hour after that, it was on the front page of sun.co.uk. A day later, his tweet had gone crazy: he’d had calls from the national press, international press, and was prepping himself for an interview on the BBC.
“How do I make it stop?” Erwyn pleaded to Terry.
Terry laughed. “I can’t stop it! Just ride it out, the press will move on soon enough.”
It’s a great story. You can just imagine the glee on the police officer’s face as he puts the pedal down, and the face when his superiors knock on his door and ask him for a chat. It works in pure press terms. And it worked in PR terms too: his business, City Supercars, got more coverage in the space of a week than it ever had before. And it all came off the back of one tweet. Terry said it was the best PR campaign he’d ever ran, and he didn’t even get paid for it.
To marketers, PR and business owners this is golddust.
One tweet, millions of global impressions. Utopia!
But, these experiences are one in a million. For the rest of us, we need to rely heavily on strategy, monitoring, testing, reporting and refining campaigns; improving as we go.
It’s who you know
Over the course of the week, we’ve been inspired, excited and also daunted by the sheer amount of marketing tactics available. SearchStar’s talk on Monday lunchtime at the Engine Shed covered the power of Facebook’s ‘reach and frequency’ buying, the usefulness of Google Think for mapping the customer journey, and the incredible potential of YouTube Director for small businesses. Yes, we thought, we should be doing more of all of that.
The data science talk on Monday evening hosted by General Assembly, meanwhile, talked passionately about the power and flexibility of harnessing data and using it to present insight and findings. Yes, I should learn Python and delve into the world of big data analysis.
Meanwhile, the PR talk on Wednesday was all about different, interesting ways to make noise to gain exposure through the press, social listening and real world data. YES! We need a PR stunt. What can we do? Let’s find ourselves a YouTube influencer!
This is just a small slice of potential tactics, tools and tricks to get a lead on your competitors, and it’s all extremely exciting. There aren’t many business leaders or owners that wouldn’t come away from any of these talks with their minds buzzing with ideas.
It struck us, that with any of these tactics, the fundamentals remain the same. And the key fundamental is know your audience. Facebook ads don’t work if you can’t target to the right people. PR is great, if it’s reported in the right place. If you get a load of coverage in Dog Grooming Monthly, and you sell 3D printers, you’re onto a loser. You can analyse all the data you like, but if you don’t make it relevant, where’s the benefit?
It sounds like an obvious takeaway from an event which took in so much. But when there’s so much content being produced (see tweet below), the more you understand about your customers, their habits, their drivers, inspirations and worries, the better.
— Fiona Whitehead (@fiwhitehead) November 14, 2016
Millions of views and retweets are a lovely ego boost, but there’s zero benefit if they’re not buying anything, or even moving through to your website.
Let’s bookend this piece with Terry. When asked about great campaigns, he said his most successful (aside from the Lambo one, of course) was for a global financial services provider. They hosted a live stream, pushed advertising out across the right channels and attracted 388 people. Which doesn’t sound like a lot. But every single one of these people was a Global Senior Level Director, a decision maker in the exact sector the client was targeting, and now a contact which could be nurtured. His clients were ecstatic.
So, our key takeaway: research your audience. Know who they are, know where they hang out, and know when they are likely to engage with whatever you’re putting out there.
Demographics are important. Perhaps more important, and more difficult to get a handle on, are habits. What do their days look like? When do they get a break? When will they be likely looking for your products and services, and what message do they need? Match your strategy and tactics to them, not you.
And that’s it. Easy. Off you go.
It’s just left to say thanks to Bristol Media for a brilliantly organised event all round. And thanks to all the speakers and panelists for their insights. Looking forward to next year already.
Other news this week:
Google Earth VR goes live and is awesome
Everyone’s talking about Quick, Draw. But you can play with a load of Google AI experiments here…
And, hey, while you’re here procrastinating, why not watch some Harlem Globetrotter/Stomp madness. It needs sound for full effect so, do that.
Now, GET BACK TO WORK.
And have a nice weekend.