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Genuine engagement key to social media success

Many businesses, and major brands, are still struggling with how to “do” social media. If you are looking to genuinely engage people then keeping it real is an approach recommended by Mojo’s chief creative officer, Craig Davis, speaking at the recent Ad Tech convention in Sydney.

Mr Davis, who was involved in the Coke “Burn” campaign, which launched internationally last year, said that a key consideration was to ensure a level of authenticity, so the viewers feel a genuine connection, particularly when the subject matter is skating.

“One of the great mistakes you can make is to over-romanticize skateboarding. Skaters smell it a mile off and will hate you for it.”

The campaign included a series of three mini-films between three and six minutes long titled “Burn”, “Ride” and “Peepshow”. The films were supported by a website, Facebook page and distributed via YouTube and 65 other community channels.

“Burn”, also the name of a Coke energy drink, is a cinematic-feeling skater film set in Mexico city, featuring skaters who are literally on fire. It was supported by a social media campaign and was rolled out in 43 European markets, starting from July 2010. On YouTube alone, “Burn” achieved 39,000 views and has attracted more than 158,000 Facebook friends to the Burn page.

“There will be more and more solutions that work like this,” he said, “social media and networks; it’s a way of engaging communities”.

For businesses looking to try this type of integrated social media approach to promotion his recommendation is to “Adopt an R&D approach to your marketing spend. It’s trial and error, see what works, there’s no silver bullet solution.”

Industry observer, Tim Baker says “…many of the world’s biggest companies have the worst social media strategies. One would think that all the money and notoriety would make it easier for these brands to engage with customers, but more often than not, their size is their biggest enemy.”

Indeed, smaller businesses who invest the time, and are agile enough, often do much better at engaging their communities online.

“People need to stop thinking how they can make social media work for them and start thinking how they can work with social media,” said Baker.

Businesses that know their audience, take the time to listen, respond and chat, not just push messages out tend to be more warmly received, and rewarded with an increasing number of genuine followers.

Photo credit: biojobblog.com

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Elayn James

Elayn James

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