10 million fans go Gaga for Gaga

You’ve probably read that Lady Gaga became the first living person to go past 10 million fans on Facebook, dethroning Barrack Obama and the ever colourful Britney Spears as the most fanned person on the network. So what is the key to such success for Lady Gaga?

First off, if you look at the Facebook page on it’s own, the first thing that strikes you is how developed the page is. It offers fans a complete experience that goes beyond that of a standard website to do what only social networks can do – engage.  There’s a complete tour listing, track listing and even an e-commerce section. In addition, this is layered with regular engagement by Lady Gaga. For example, when she reached the 10 million mark on Facebook, she posted “Thank u so much little monsters for following me on Facebook! 10 million friends of mine who are now connected to each other.” In addition, there are a number of videos aimed directly at her fans in the social space.

But it’s not just Facebook that makes her such a force in the social world, it’s the fact that she cleverly weaves together the different platforms available to her to tell her story.  On Twitter she has over 4,790,900 follows, on YouTube she has 313823 subscribers and around 126,922,521 video views. Underpinning all of this is the fact that she’s probably one of the hardest working celebrities from a global perspective, she’s not just US-centric, she has a far wider appeal.

She has cleverly used social media to tell her “brand” story as she wants it told, while underpinning this with countless PR and promotional efforts in individual markets. What this means is that while she might not physically be in your country, she’s never far away. While she might not be looking back at you from the cover of a magazine, she’s at the top of your Facebook news feed. What she’s developed is a continuous brand story that she (and not the mainstream media) owns in order to constantly stay relevant to her fans and always be top of mind. If I may say so, genius…..

Is Facebook about to give YouTube a bloody nose?

According to ComScore, more Facebook users than ever are watching videos on the site and this has been growing at a fairly healthy rate over the past 12 months. In fact, Facebook could end the year second behind YouTube in terms of reach for online video providers. The data shows that video viewing figures are at around 41.3 million per month as of April 2010 representing huge yearly growth at over 200 per cent. The interesting facet about those numbers, it’s that only counts the video hosted on Facebook itself, not YouTube videos viewed on Facebook……

Mirroring a similar trend to the “social search” post from yesterday, Facebook really is turning out to be the King of Content, but could we soon see them take on the might of YouTube when it comes to video hosting? Hey, it’s possible. The question to ask is this – how can they take on an open platform like YouTube from behind the closed doors of their network? Could we start and see a partially open Facebook where more and more content is placed outside of the confines of your network? With figures like these, I guess this is all going to be (a lot of) food for thought for the guys and gals at Facebook

Twitter: The final frontier

I spend most of my day thinking up new ways to help my clients interact with social media and I have to say, I find that extremely rewarding. I recently had some time with one of the senior team at my agency and she described my current position as “working in the place to be at the place to be” and I think that pretty much sums-up the way I feel about things – I work for an awesome agency in the most cutting edge part of PR.

One of the most interesting challenges at the moment, is figuring out exactly how to get clients involved with Twitter and how we then measure the output. It is the final frontier, in a Captain Kirk sense, we’ve pretty much got a handle on blogging, YouTube, Facebook and so on, but Twitter is still a bit of a tough one.

Sure, I know the same rules as everyone else in terms of engagement, growing followers, becoming a trusted presence, but what about the overall package? Take Facebook and YouTube for example – both have some awesome analytics attached to them, which make it easy to track, measure and analyse your work. Twitter lacks this and while there are 3rd party tools, they lack the sophistication of those on Facebook and YouTube.  We’re kind of stuck with numbers like followers, friends and retweets. For those that are interested in working Twitter into their communications mix – here are a few tips :

  • Use tools like Tweepsearch to help grow your network in a more targeted way
  • Don’t underestimate the power of the retweet
  • use bit.ly links to take your Twitter feeds effectiveness
  • Identify a core set of followers that you really want to retweet your content and focus on them -perhaps consider providing one of pieces that are specific to them
  • Take a look at tools like Tweetbeep to help your tracking
  • Identify and use the #hashtags that are most relevant for your industry and use them  

The way I view Twitter at the moment is as a part of a wider social media plan, acting as more of a hook than anything else, allowing brands to direct their audiences to content hosted elsewhere. So, for the time being the basic analytics we have kind of do the job, but you have to ask – where to next for Twitter?

Is your football team social?

This post was eventually going to happen, mainly because I’ve been trying to think of a way to get the following topics in one post: Social media, football, Aston Villa.

As someone that gets almost 100 per cent of his Aston Villa/football info from the web, I’m an avid reader of several blogs relating to my beloved Aston Villa. I also dip in and out of the forums from time to time, but I hardly ever read the papers anymore.

For me, if you’re a football fan of any club, you should be regularly checking the likes of  Football Spy with Darren Lewis, Sky Sports and a decent blog about your team. Probably the last place you’ll hear any decent news is your club site.

Take my club, Aston Villa if you will. There of a decent size, owned by a fairly savvy American Billionaire in the form of Randy Leaner, but are they social. Well, no…. Randy’s right hand man, “The General” was sitting in a few forums for a while and famously got himself into trouble with the “pig” comment. But, that’s about it.

The site has what they call a “blog”, but you can’t comment on it, they are also on twitter, but don’t answer back. They have a YouTube channel, but just seem to put footage from AVTV on there. They one thing that they did do that was kind of interesting was the Bullring to Bullring feature, which you can check out here:

But, where the official site lets us down, the fan-based blogs give us what we want. Here’s probably one of the best examples if you’re a Villa fan. They have a main blogger, but also have several other contributors and recently asked their readers to submit their own posts. In addition, they also have a Twitter stream which they use to provide feeds from the matches – great for people like me that hardly ever make a game.

How come the club isn’t paying attention? Well, as someone that works in this space it’s usually the classic fear of exposure/lack of control issue that is (yes, it is) totally irrational. And, to be fair to the staff at Villa – it’s probably a time and staffing issue. But, what could they do? Well, here’s a few ideas:

  • Offer a live Twitter feed from the games, complete with Tweet pics
  • Have a few of the players run the Twitter feed, or perhaps a few guest spots – i.e. tonight at 6pm, John Carew takes over the AVFC Twitter feed
  • Make the blog a blog – add a comments section and get a bit more interactive
  • Get the fans involved in your output – ask for thier pictures, clips, thoughts and so-on. Everyone takes their mobiles to the game – there’s a whole bunch of UGC right there
  • Use the YouTube channel for something interesting – get the players to do a few videos behind the scenes, perhaps offer fans the chance to come in and film some interviews

There’s just a few thoughts and I’m sure others will have a few more thoughts. But whether your a Villa fan, Man U fan or whatever – is your club social? And, if you’re a club – Being social is free to very cheap, get involved.

What makes a killer video?

I recently came across the Chad Vader series and was reminded of the wealth of talent that operates in the online space. For those that haven’t seen it, essentially it takes the Darth Vader character (off of Star Wars fame) and places him in the everyday role of deputy shift manager. Check out the episode below

It’s clever, original, works to a basic concept and plays to the audience. But these guys aren’t just the only ones doing a great job. The Onion constantly produce awesome videos, usually by playing on an unspoken truth or frustration – just check out their fake Sony product launch below.

And there’s more. I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Judson Laipply of Evolution of Dance fame. The wealth of knowledge this guy has when it comes to making successful videos was amazing, but in the end the reasons behind the popularity of the video is always a fundamental truth – in this case, the bad dances we’ve all been guilty of over the decades.

But what about brands? How can we work to produce videos that not only deliver on a set of objectives but also engages the audience in an interesting way? My agency worked for US ice cream brand Klondike to help attract a new generation of Americans to the iconic brand. As part of this they produced a series of videos focusing on the brands classic advertising strap-line “What would you do for a Klondike bar” and came up with this little gem.

Again – it’s clever, plays to the audience, It’s based on an fundamental truth and more importantly for those of us that work in this space – it delivers on a set of objectives.

So, how can we go about producing successful videos for our clients. Well, the first thing to remember is that we can do this for all our clients, not just B2C , the audience for B2B is healthy and watching. Which brings me to my tips for success:

  • It is important to understand that your audience interacts with content on their terms. They discover, share and promote what they like – give them a solid reason to do this
  • Don’t make it an advert
  • Make sure it has a solid core concept or fundamental truth
  • Keep it short and to the point
  • Make sure you have the right talent at hand to make it authoritative and credible

Lastly, remember, make it:

  • Relevant
  • Interesting
  • Shareable

There’s obviously a whole art to promoting the video, but that’s another post!