Every one of us has probably belonged to a fan club at one stage in our lives. As a child of the eighties, I’m familiar with the agony of waiting for an autographed photo to drop through the letterbox.
The chances are, the photo wasn’t authentically hand signed, but merely a duplicated print. But it didn’t matter. If the celebrity was current, it meant real bragging rights at school.
Fast forward to 2013.
Social platforms now give us the ability to communicate with any celebrity at the touch of button. No waiting for that duplicated photo to drop through the mail. Now we can actually have a conversation. What used to be a one-directional monologue (controlled by a PR department) has become a dialogue (with the real star themselves).
The fact is, it feels good when somebody famous Tweets us back. If it’s ever happened to you, you’ve likely retweeted it to your followers. Talking to someone famous makes us look cool. Social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are popular because at their core, they enable us to show off.
We share things that make us look good. Whether it’s a new car or watch, or photo’s of us mountain biking or kite surfing, our favourite social platform gives us a stage like no other. Unlike what some will tell you, social media hasn’t altered human behaviour; it’s simply amplified it. We were showing off long before Facebook arrived. It’s simply given us better reach.
It’s obvious when you think about it. Therefore it’s amazing how so many brands are totally oblivious to it. They opt instead to spend their Facebook time trying to collect likes and followers.
The fact is we don’t “like” brands. We don’t even care about them. If we did, dear old Woolies would still be on our high street. No, we care about how brands make us look or feel.
Forget brag and boast
Brands need to stop narcissistically focussing on themselves, and instead focus on their audience. We don’t care about how many likes you want, how great you think your product is, or that you’ve refurbed your hotel with new beds. We care about ourselves.
They need to cull their obsession with doing social media, and instead simply learn how to be social. Staid, dry monologues need to be replaced with authentic, emotional dialogues.
Most importantly, they need to forget the world of brag and boast and instead focus on how to make us look good; to give us experiences that we want to naturally share.
Now, for any True Blood fan, actually being on the show would be a dream come true, therefore that’s what HBO and its agency Definition 6 enabled them to do.
They created “Immortalize Yourself”; a unique Facebook App that enabled fans to insert themselves and their friends into a custom video, where they featured alongside real True Blood characters.
Their audience loved it. They created over 200,000 unique videos, which were watched 2.4 million times, and knocked up 35,000 shares via Facebook and Twitter.
HBO didn’t talk about how good the show was going to be, they activated their fan base. By putting their audience, not themselves at the heart of the experience, they encouraged them to create content that they would naturally want to share.
Audiences loved it because it made them look cool.