When I first experienced social media what started to become very apparent was its power to influence through its inherent features and design. The ability to be able to create an impression and influence many people from just one post, whether that be on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube was obvious but not seen by all and to many is still a mystery.
Seth Godin in his book “Tribes” says “Welcome to the age of leverage…. the new leverage available to everyone is means that the status quo is threatened more than ever..” and some of the status quo is the publishing industry, newspapers and mass media as we know it.
The platforms (software) and channels (social media environments like Myspace and LinkedIn) are free, all we need is some imagination and creativity and your social media technology, marketing and sociology experiment can commence. Social media is the crossroads of these three different but now intertwined disciplines.
We live in a time where we have the democratization of marketing, where you can reach millions of people without spending a cent on traditional marketing (read and view Conan O’Brien’s experience). It doesn’t mean you don’t work hard and smart but with the tools currently at hand and careful selection of channels to post your content, publishing your message to the world has never been easier or faster.
So how have some companies and personal brands used social media to influence hundreds of thousands and even millions of people.
5 Case Studies On Social Media’s Viral Power and Influence
1. Conan O’Brien‘s “The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour”
- One Tweet promotion program
- One Tweet and a national 32 city comedy tour sold out in 2 hours
- Channel used Twitter.. Followers 939,000
- 40 staff on Production
- The bank account ($32 Million in severance pay from NBC to bankroll the production)
- The number one ranked tour on leading ticket vendor websites in the US, according to The AP. “[This] is unheard of for a comedian,” said Glenn Lehrman, spokesman for the Stub Hub online ticket site. “The top spot usually goes to a sports event or big-arena pop concert.”
Ford Fiesta Movement that involved selecting 100 socially vibrant individuals who were provided with the European version of the Ford Fiesta 18 months prior to it being manufactured and released in the USA. These socially media aware fanatics were encouraged to share their experience with the Ford Fiesta over the 6 months on their Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube channels.
- 11 million Social Networking impressions
- 5 million engagements on social networks (people sharing and receiving)
- 11,000 videos posted
- 15,000 tweets.. not including retweets
- 13,000 photos
- 50,000 hand raisers who have seen the product in person or on a video who said that they want to know more about it when it comes out and 97% of those don’t currently drive a Ford vehicle
- 38% awareness by Gen Y about the product, without spending a dollar on traditional advertising ( Fords model “Fusion” doesn’t have that awareness after 2 years of being out in production and yet it has received hundreds of millions of dollars in traditional marketing spend).
Eight teams of social media embark on a combination road trip/scavenger hunt competition from their hometowns to Austin behind the wheel of some of Chevy’s newest products. Along the way they’ll need to complete 50 “challenges” in order to determine the winner. The winning team will be the one that not only has completed the most challenges, but has done the most interacting with their community on Twitter and their own sites.
- 61.1 Million social web impressions from March 8 to 21 (with overwhelmingly well above 98% of those being positive, as far as the reports and measurements that I saw) with
- 15,924 online mentions including
- 13,440 Tweets (this is more than double the number of tweets about Chevy in Jan-Feb)
- 1,216 blog posts
- 1,268 other posts (including comments, photos and videos)
- 33,500 page views through Facebook and ChevySXSW.com
- More than 300 pieces of positive user-generated content posted to ChevySXSW.com (including 250+ videos)
- Chevrolet added 8,764 fans to its Facebook page (up 12.7% in 3 weeks);
- @Chevrolet Twitter followers were up +68% in the month of our SXSW activation
Toyota in the UK put together a social media marketing program that saw two bloggers attempting a 500-mile road trip in a Toyota iQ, all on a single tank of petrol. The trip would take the two drivers to 18 UK cities and every step of the journey would be shared through social media
- In terms of coverage, the hyper-miling activity resulted in 64 blogs, including Wired, the New York Times and Treehugger reporting the attempt
- Toyota reaching a potential audience of over 105 million readers worldwide
- It reached a possible 3.7 million in the UK alone.
- Traffic to the iQ blog increased by more than 212%
To be elected as President using the web and social media channels
- Over 3 million individual donors were mobilised through social media
- Motivated over 2 million social networking participants
- Created and promoted more than 200,000 offline events across the country
- Total of 6.5 million donations online
- $500 million in donations online
- More than 13 million people provided their email addresses to the campaign website over the course of the campaign, aides sent more than 7,000 types of messages
- In total, more than 2 billion e-mails landed in inboxes
- The campaign website helped create over 2 million user profiles
- There were over 400,000 blog entries
- People spent more than 14 million hours watching over 1,000 Obama campaign-related videos on YouTube
- There were more than 50 million views of Obama Campaign YouTube Videos
- 1.2 billion minutes of YouTube view time.
By the way if your not convinced here are four more numbers
- This blog cost $10 to setup (The cost of the domain name)
- March traffic 94,000 hits
- March unique views 59,000
- Time 12 months
To verify try this independent site compete.com
Have you tapped into the leverage of social media yet?