With such phenomenal success, other social networks are even more determined to carve out a niche in the market place. With fierce competition for your profile page, viral and covert marketing methods may no longer be enough. These companies, unlike Facebook, are stepping out from behind the screen and into the physical world of advertising.
Two social networks in the realms of social gaming and dating have made 1,000 people’s profile a little more prominent.
Zynga, founded in 2007 is the company behind the popular Facebook games such as Farmville, Cityville and Hidden Chronicles and with a user base of over 250 million users a month is a major player in the world of social media.
Badoo is a dating focused social discovery website that was founded in 2006 and now boasts over 150 million members and is growing at over 150,000 users every day. It is now the 59th most visited website in the world.
Zynga’s “I Love to Play” Campaign
In the run up to Christmas 2011, Zynga (gaming social network) users could upload their photos into a billboard game which were then displayed on digital screens in Times Square, New York. Zynga commented that ‘I Heart Zynga’ was simply a ‘game’ to ‘celebrate’ their players but it also cleverly captured the essence of their brand; a gaming platform with people who ‘Love to Play’
Badoo’s Ultimate Profile Campaign
Badoo, the fast growing online dating site, uses a similar method of integrating user’s pictures into their adverts. Initially the ‘Badoo project’ photographed 1000 New Yorkers (who had to sign up to Badoo) and picked 26 winners ‘based on personality, energy and individuality’ for their billboard campaign that was launched in April 2012. This campaign was displayed on billboards, taxi tops and underground trains.
The Badoo blog states that for these 26 users who will be plastered across New York.
‘it’s like starring in the ultimate profile picture.’
The number ‘150 Million’ is just as important as the photos. It gives Badoo ‘the world’s largest and fastest growing social network for meeting new people’ a sense of value.
It encourages others that there will be a perfect match for them in this large population. Building on this idea, they also have a counter on their home page, showcasing how many people are already using Badoo.
Of course this is a prime example of the network effect theory; in essence, the more people that use the service, the more valuable the service is to the user.
Building a Community
Both Zynga and Badoo are creating value and a sense of community by choosing ‘real’ users to represent them. It’s especially interesting how Badoo invoked a sense of excitement amongst their audience through the potential of being picked for an advertising campaign. They’ve included their users at every step and this is vital – they have got their feedback, created a buzz and made their audience feel part of the campaign which translates into more log-ins and viral chat.
What can we Learn from These Campaigns?
Buying premium advertising space in New York might not be in your budget but how could you adapt these techniques to your own business?
- Just as Badoo highlights the size of its membership to create credibility don’t be afraid to display your credentials (such as number of followers, awards etc) to the world. Even simple elements such as share buttons that display the number of “retweets” and Facebook “likes” provide social proof that does get noticed.
- All businesses should have ‘followers/fans/friends’ via a Facebook page and blog, so why not test out some potential campaign ideas? People love to give their opinion and even more so when it’s taken on board.
- Could you pick a ‘follower’ of the month? Ask them some fun questions about themselves and dedicate a day to them. Give them a higher platform within your business. It gives your website a personal touch.
- You might not have 150 million people on your website but be proud of the number you do have, make your audience feel valued. Thank them! Remember 100,000 followers started with 100 of them.
- Hold a caption competition where clients could tell you what your brand means to them. Could you reward them with a discount or a gift?
Is there an interesting (and cost effective) way to present your brand and profile to the world?
Think how Zynga used gaming, how could you be innovative with your business?
What About You?
Despite millions being spent on eye catching logos, platform design and compelling copy, both businesses and social networks need to grab the attention of a public who, having been inundated with data requests, aren’t now so easy to convince.
Could you unlock some refreshing marketing initiatives with techniques that involve your existing audience?
Look forward to hearing you ideas, stories and experiences.
Guest Author: Alexander van Aken
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Image by misteraitch