The Glories of Video for Social Media

Social media loves a good video and, if done right, it’s great for clients as they can really grow positive feelings for brands or messages. The most popular videos are funny or amazing, easy to share and of course, have a talking point. YouTube (which only started in 2005) is by far the frontrunner in online video providers with some fantastic channels, though Vimeo’s great, too. I, alongside the rest of the industry, wish I could unlock the secret to a viral video. What I can do is look at videos that have done well and admire them.

There are quite a few amazing examples of PR and marketing videos around – many have had a hefty budget attached to them and they are definitely well thought out – a couple of awesome flash mob videos and light up sheep come to mind (but I’m not going to say who they are). Last year’s April fool from ThinkGeek – Playmobil Apple Store Play Set was exceptionally clever and I recommend you watch it. It’s had more than 600,000 views.

Doing a video explicitly to go viral is risky, though, as you can never be certain what will fly. Videos require thought and creativity to have a even chance at succeeding, that’s for sure. Here are two of my other favourite viral videos from The Poke – The Nick Clegg Apology: I’m Sorry Song, and Glove and Boots – Spam. They aren’t actually PR videos, but they are fantastic examples of engaging and memorable content. Both are integrated within social media and it’s obvious that a lot of thought has gone into both.

What’s so amazing about the “I’m Sorry” video? It’s topical, there’s brilliant editing and good use of autotune, it went viral, got released as a single with Nick Clegg’s blessing, and all the money is going to charity. Incidentally, it achieved coverage across the UK’s national media and beyond – Telegraph, Independent, BBC to name just three and made it into the UK’s top 40. Do a quick google news search and there are well over 2,000 results – incredible! The original video uploaded by PokeHQ on September 19th has had 1,979,990 views. They’ve even made a video of some of the best bits – this has had 48,000 hits, too.

On to the Spam video from Glove and Boots – puppets. Spam and internet security can be so boring, but here it’s not the case. Interestingly, lots of people don’t understand exactly what Spam is and communicating the dangers can be difficult. Clever use of cans of Spam and hilarious examples – the Nigerian Prince, links that show cute pictures etc that you want to click – are all highlighted in a very memorable way and there are links to helpful sites, all of which stick. I have to be honest, I’m not sure who’s behind Glove and Boots, though I’ve tried to dig a little deeper – the description on their site simply says Glove and Boots is a place on the internet where lots of puppets live. Mario and Fafa the Groundhog are two of them. Their YouTube channel has had more than 9,000,000 views. I haven’t come across one of their videos that didn’t make me laugh out loud so, if you have time, stick your headphones in and put the YouTube channel on in the background.

It goes almost without saying that the rise and rise of social media means that online content is ever easier to share. Though no video’s guaranteed to go viral, it’s still worth the time and investment to make something that really engages with your audience, gives them something to talk about and can be easily shared.

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Five things marketers can learn from London 2012


We’ve got so used to Facebook and Twitter there was little outstandingly new to add for London 2012 – just a case of ‘the standard’ creative thinking, clever planning and getting the content and timing right.  Most interesting perhaps were the personal tweets from our sporting heroes.  Keeping it real and keeping it personal was a winning strategy for our TeamGB and ParalympicGB stars.  Something for us all to ponder on moving forward.

Streaming goes stellar

The BBC delivered on its bold promise of never missing a moment.  The abundance of access to digital content, news and so on via multiple platforms was a mostly masterclass in motion.  Mass is niche and niche can be made available to the masses.  Choice is indeed a great thing when it comes to multi-sport events.  What can we learn?  Video is the ever increasing medium of choice for audiences and its attraction and power should not to be underestimated in our campaigns.

People make the moment

The Games Makers have repeatedly, and rightly, been showered with praise.  They created and led the tone of the Games: funny, quirky, always smiling and ultra helpful.  Ok, so they were volunteers and they really wanted to be there but boy does it highlight that if you define your tone of voice well, pick the right people and brief them intelligently what a massive difference it can make to your customer service, show stand, public speakers…..

It’s showtime

Brits have a tendency to talk things down and undersell the experience.  From the venue locations to the way different sports were presented clever choices were made to make each an entertainment experience in its own right. And we loved it.  I haven’t met a person who didn’t enjoy whatever they went to see and considered it spectacular in its own way.  Little touches also made downtime fun – anyone see bongo time in the athletics stadium, for example?  The small touches can make events unique and something we can all take into our day to day thinking.

Partnerships work

Sebastian Coe said time and again that it was the partnerships that made London 2012 fly and without the myriad of organisations working together it could never had been as successful as it was.  This underlines that great leadership, delegation and true grit are worth working for and together cross working teams can deliver the exceptional.  In our time pressured days where fastest and simplest is often considered best, it is perhaps timely to reflect how much bigger something can be if teams can be brought together for a common goal.

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The lion, the zip wire and the social media sensation

As hazy smartphone images surfaced over the Bank Holiday weekend, panic arose due to the police’s inability to confirm that a mysterious creature seen parading around Essex was NOT a dangerous, man-eating predator. They subsequently couldn’t battle the social media force of @EssexLion building up almost 40,000 followers on Twitter.

Mild terror ensued and the people of Essex were scared to walk their dogs, but Britain loves a good social media panic party, particularly when we’ve got an extra day on our hands to doctor photographs and make up jokes. With online Olympic highlights including Mo Farah running away from things and Boris Johnson stuck on a zip wire, the summer of 2012 has highlighted our love of the ridiculous. The rise of social media over the past few years has meant that a news event is never far from becoming an online sensation, and it seems the key to success lies within the weird and the wonderful.

With respect to Boris Johnson, it’s fair to say that his zip wire escapade, closing ceremony dance routine to The Spice Girls and long list of other slapstick gaffes have done wonders in endearing him to the public as ‘the people’s politician’, with many placing their bets on him as a future Prime Minister. So from a PR perspective, can brands use this informal, humorous mode of communication to their advantage? They need to tread carefully; it’s as easy to hit the wrong note with a topical joke as it is to hit the right, so such spontaneity does have its risks. However it is of rising importance for a brand to stay on top of not only their own social media channels and those relevant to their industry, but also of the Internet crazes sweeping the nation at any given moment. It can be argued that humorous social media contributions to newsworthy events keep a brand current and give it a human face, keeping in touch with our unwavering fondness for lovable heroes who don’t take themselves too seriously. If well thought out and executed, light-hearted humour and a decent knowledge of Photoshop have the potential to do wonders for a brand’s profile; perhaps it’s time we took the ridiculous a little more seriously.

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Changing viewing habits: what’s this got to do with the technology revolution?

One of the key conclusions coming out of this week’s Ofcom report on the attitudes to the broadcast media in the UK was that people’s viewing habits are changing. This is no shocking news for anyone in the media and PR industry, given that there’s been a lot of hype around internet technologies and social media in the past few years. What’s interesting, however, is how consumers’ viewing habits are changing and what will be the long term effect of these changes on the media industry.

Almost two-thirds (65%) of the respondents in the Ofcom survey said they used their mobile while watching TV and almost half of them (47%) used the internet while viewing a TV programme. This trend towards media multitasking is likely to grow in importance in the next few years, bringing significant changes to the way broadcasters, marketers, and advertisers deliver content to their audiences.

Internet-connected ‘smart’ TVs are already available in the market as well as video-on-demand services and interactive smartphone apps that enable viewers to actively engage with TV content. One of the hottest trends in this field is the development of second screen technologies that allow viewers to interact with TV content using their smartphone or tablet devices. These new technologies are heralding the era of social television – an interactive viewing experience that involves more than one communication medium and enables viewers to share and engage with media content more actively.

With viewers increasingly looking to watch TV content at a time that suits them or on-the-go, broadcasters will need to take into consideration these new habits to be able to adapt to the changing market. According to the above mentioned Ofcom research, the growing availability and take-up of new technology is changing viewers’ habits and raising long term questions about the regulation of broadcast programming. Therefore television content will have to be delivered differently, i.e. at a time that matches consumers’ requirements and through the medium channel that best suits their needs.

As the media world is changing, PRs, marketing professionals and advertisers will need to accommodate the evolving needs of their target audiences and reflect the shift towards more interactive and engaging multi-channel campaigns. The convergence between TV, mobile and computing technologies creates huge opportunities for monetising content across different platforms by linking TV content to digital or mobile advertising. Furthermore PR professionals can take advantage of this technology revolution by creating interactive campaigns that deliver consistent messages across multiple platforms. Therefore building engaging campaigns that tap into the full potential of modern media will be the key to success in the emerging world of converged communications.

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Creating the Modern Holiday in the Era of Web 2.0

As the holiday season kicks into full swing a question popped into my mind: ‘what impact has the digital age had on our behaviour when it comes to choosing a holiday?’

10 years ago you probably would have gone to your local travel agent or searched Teletext TV to book a holiday. However, with the explosion of the digital age and internet accessible on the move i.e. by 2015, 9 out of 10 consumers will have a mobile smartphone subscription, it is not surprising that we are now using different modes of technology to communicate two-way conversations with other like-minded travellers.

Take for example, if I wanted to travel to Rome, Italy the logical thing to do would be to search comparison sites to find the cheapest air deal, then venture onto TripAdvisor to find a selection of hotels which meet my budget. Next, sit back and filter through travellers reviews until I found the right one. Then maybe post on Facebook, twitter or forums asking anyone if they have been to the area and any good tips as to what to do there.

This method is currently used most when booking the modern holiday. But this growing trend is shaking up the holiday industry; what people are now calling ‘holiday 2.0’  is catching on and encouraging entrepreneurs to come up with a range of social sites, whereby individuals can share their holiday experience and their homes, opening up the new personal, transparent and trustworthy holiday experience.

Firstly you have Airbnb (now worth $1billion), which allows you to find a home or room to rent for the week; users update their profile making the experience more personal and trustworthy with reviews. Mainly picking up momentum with the young (65% under 35), it’s a great way for you to meet, travel and make new friends and to experience the city in a more cultural way. Another, Triptrotting has become a global success whereby people meet up with other travellers and share the best activities and tours for their holiday.

So why are people choosing social travel sites such as Airbnb?

  1. It is cheaper
  2. People are fed up with over expensive hotels which are detached from the culture of the area they are in
  3. A way for solo travellers to connect with friends and locals they have just met and from there, customise their travel plans
  4. People are getting fed up believing the marketing ploys of certain hotels and are more likely to trust individuals who have been there and experienced the holiday

From a PR perspective it is important that hotel brands turn the phenomena of Web 2.0 to their own advantage.  To do this, companies need to adapt business models to become digital focused and have social media plans in place for every step of the holiday 2.0 journey.  The key to success is in three steps: listen, engage and be transparent when communicating messages to customers. Only then will you succeed in being a trustful and respected presence amongst the new ‘holiday 2.0’ consumer.

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onechocolate’s blog

We're passionate about communications, and we have our own views on what's going on.