The art of conversation on social media is continuing to evolve and inspire creatives and marketers the world over. Provoking a conversation, or inspiring a conversation to continue, makes a brand more human and opens the opportunity for a deeper relationship with people (be they fans or simple acquaintances). The importance is to be honest and a bit surprising. This will have the best chance of eliciting a response. There are 3 favoured tactics used that accomplish this goal in social media: The contest with content, the response content, and the pure stunt content.
The contest with content is arguably the earliest conversation generator because people love to win things, regardless of what they are. Moreover, as people become a lot more savvy to social media marketing tactics, they pick up on interesting “contests” and get involved to have the chance for online fame (even if it is fleeting). One of the biggest example of this was Australia Tourism’s “Best Job In The World”. The offer was truly exceptional so participation was significant, which drove huge PR. Most recently I found a contest that leverages the spirit of “Best Job In the World” but takes the opposite approach. It is called “The World’s Toughest Job” – a contest for a seemingly impossible job. The beauty about this contest is that the twist is so out of left field that both participant and viewer are left shocked and truly engaged. Have a look.
The response content became globally renowned through Old Spice and its video responses to online chatter about Old Spic Guy (see case study video here). The tactic is great because it demonstrates to the online community that you are listening and that you have a point of view on what is being discussed. A brilliant recent example of this tactic is by Honey Maid. They previously had aired a commercial about families and included same sex couples and their children. There were people who didn’t agree and let their feelings be heard on social media. So Honey Maid turned that negative discussion into a positive message through an ingenious art project. Have a look at the case study – beautiful, disarming, and a very strong perspective.
The final tactic used by Brands to provoke conversations is the stunt. There have been countless brilliant examples over the past few years. An excellence recent one came from Sky TV in New Zealand for the season start of Game Of Thrones. They erected a huge statue of the much disliked Joffrey and then tore him down, much like the Statue of Saddam Hussein was brought down in Bagdad. What made this stunt interesting is that it was brought down by Tweets. The more people tweeted #bringdowntheking, the more an pulley system yanked on the statue until it eventually came down. Who would have known that Joffrey would indeed by brought down in episode 2 of the season! Have a look at the case study.