5 Reasons the WWE is Bodyslamming Social Media

WWE-Social-Media-PanelWith over 23 million fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter, the WWE has long been a standout brand in terms of harnessing social media for brand awareness and tremendous amounts of fan engagement.

In a session for SXSW interactive on Saturday, Echo’s CEO and Co-Founder Khris Loux joined the WWE’s Perkins Miller, Stephanie McMahon, and Superstar John Cena to discuss how the brand’s integrated marketing and content strategies are driving that engagement by connecting their Superstars directly with the brand’s fans while delivering exclusive content and real-time experiences that demonstrate the potential of social TV. Beyond engagement with fans, however, they offered some more interesting insights into how social media has become a key part of every brand initiative.

Here’s some takeaways from this piledriver of a session.

No More Fear of Social Media

Cena, like many brands, was initially skeptical about joining social networks. He wasn’t sure just how much transparency he wanted to offer fans of the WWE, and had thought of the horror stories of misguided tweets. In the end, he’s been won over by social media’s ability to connect with fans of the John Cena and WWE brands. Many brands are still skeptical, but John Cena has seen that skepticism disappear now that’s he’s joined the platforms and started engaging.

New Branding Opportunities can be Created on Social

Cena discussed the time an on air comment made by one of his famous opponents, The Rock, regarding his colorful appearance bearing a resemblance to a bowl of Fruity Pebbles, trended on Twitter. Fruity Pebbles became a top trend that night and Cena has gone on to sponsor the product. He notes “I was the first celebrity to displace Fred Flintstone on a box of cereal.”

Social Media for Every Department of your Brand

Perkins Miller, EVP of Digital Media, notes that social has become so embedded in the WWE corporate culture that Chairman Vince McMahon requires weekly reporting from each department on how they have used social media to drive business goals that week. Not simply Marketing and PR departments; but HR, finance, investor relations, etc.

Transparency Has Many Benefits

Loux and McMahon also discussed how, as a public company, the WWE uses social media to keep investors up-to-date on all of the goings on within the brand. They note the WWE Investor Twitter account as an example. Loux says with social, there’s no longer a need for investors or potential investors to sit and wait for each quarterly report. Doling out small chunks of information, even in tweet form, has proven vital in keeping investors fully informed.

Social Media and Monitoring Instant Reaction

Miller notes that after every Monday Night Raw program, the brand produces detailed social media reports including sentiment analysis. They’re keen to see just how social media users are reacting to the characters and stories they’re met with every week. McMahon notes that it’s important to put human eyes on sentiment analysis. “If the bad guy is getting negative sentiment, that’s a very good thing.”  The brand can also see which moments, which interviews, and which zingers really landed that night. The next “Fruity Pebbles” moment could be splashed across that next top selling T-shirt. Social media’s instant response is essential for the brand to react quickly to produce new products and content that strike a chord with their audience.

(Note: This post originally appeared on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud blog on March 9, 2013.)

Have a Laugh! Incorporate Humor into Social Media

Ben-Huh-and-Social-Media-Humor-199x300Using humor in your social media activities is tricky business. Very few things are as subjective as what constitutes “funny.” At an SXSW session on March 11, “The Art of Making Fun of Yourself”, CEO of the Cheezburger Network, Ben Huh spoke about incorporating humor into your online personas and campaigns.

Brands looking to establish themselves on social media may be interested in a few takeaways from Mr. Huh’s informative, and humorous presentation.

Pay Up! Humor is Social Currency

Huh believes that the internet and social media largely run on humor. Across Twitter, Facebook, and other online forums, everyone is taking a stab at being a comedian. Why post or tweet anything unless, at least on some level, you’re looking for that “like” or retweet? It’s that social seal of approval that your update or content has indeed hit the mark with at least certain people. Brands looking to jump into social media for the purposes of engagement and spreading their message should understand that laughs are a valuable currency in the online space. You don’t need to be The Onion or Conan to add a touch of laughter to your social media activity.

We Are All Obsessed with Grumpy Cat!

Get your social media followers and fans involved in contributing humorous content, with memes as a classic example. Pay attention to which online humor sensations are catching fire and don’t be afraid to try to leverage them. Mashable took advantage of one of the moment’s biggest online sensations “Grumpy Cat” to attract huge lineups to their SXSW location this year. Indeed, the appearance of the feline phenom has been one of the biggest hits of this year’s interactive conference. That speaks volumes about how important humor is as part of a brand’s marketing campaigns. As well, keeping up regular engagement with your online audience will ensure that your awesome, knee-slapping content makes the rounds.

Viral, Schmiral

Only a tiny fraction of what we do will truly take off and “go viral.” When using comedy in your social efforts, don’t expect every humorous aside to garner heavy activity or be noticed by the entire world. The key is to develop your brand’s online persona first and become a consistent source of laughs. That’s far better strategy than constantly trying to catch lightning in a bottle and produce the next world wide viral sensation every time you drop new content.

First is the Worst, Second is the Best…

While the famous Oreo Super Bowl power outage response was terrific marketing, there’s no rush to be first to score humor points off current events. Rushing to make jokes around breaking news is where brands could find themselves in trouble. Those second or third to the ball can also take off. Consider Dos Equis (the Most Interesting Man in the World meme) and Old Spice (The Old Spice Guy) for example. Both characters share similarities with the Chuck Norris Facts meme, though the two branded examples came later and still managed to become well known humor hits. Real-time response is great but make sure your campaign is still in line with your brand’s established personality and history.

(Note: This post originally appeared on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud blog on March 12, 2013.)

Cover image via Flickr

4 Ingredients for Success From the Social Media Chef

The-Social-Media-Chef-300x300Eddie Huang, an up-and-coming star in the food world is not only a restauranteur, but an entrepreneur, and television personality. Huang’s use of social media has earned him a mention in Zagat’s “30 Under 30” list and gained him a large following on Twitter.

At a session at SXSWi entitled “The Social Media Chef“,  Huang was on-hand to discuss, among other things, how social media has enhanced his brand and his restaurant‘s story.

Here’s a few takeaways from Huang’s SXSW presentation.

Think in Three Acts

Whatever your industry, everyone involved in your brand’s social media activities is a writer now, or at least should always be thinking like one. “Think in three acts” at all times, Huang notes. It’s always about the brand story. Being involved in social platforms, such as blogging, lets you get to what your brand is about far more than you could before. In his case, speaking to the restaurant business, Huang feels they need to answer the question “beyond the food, what are you about?” Every brand activity on social should be about sharing the story.

Employees Should Lead the Way

Huang discussed sharing the passwords for the restaurant social media accounts with employees, such as their Instagram and Tumblr accounts. Speaking to a fellow restauranteur in the audience, he noted, “You may have a server in your dining room that could totally kill it online, let them have a go.” It’s a great message for brands. Social media should be a company-wide initiative. It’s not just the role of Community or Marketing. There could be a developer in your organization with a tremendous sense of humor, encourage employees to get active on social channels, and retweet them liberally from the corporate handles.

You’ve Got More Control Than You Think

Though the situation may be different for larger brands, Huang enthusiastically noted that with social media channels now readily at his disposal, he’s no longer beholden to any PR reps or other parties to get his message- his story – across. A common talking point regarding social media is that the consumer now controls the conversation. While that’s true, Huang seemed unfazed at the notion that others can and will discuss the brand. Social media affords him a tremendous voice as well, he appears ready to play in that world right alongside his patrons, and critics.

Keep it Weird

Fittingly, while speaking in Austin, Texas where the slogan is “Keep Austin Weird”, Huang noted the virtue in keeping things off-kilter, goofy, and unpredictable. He wouldn’t bother with social media channels if the only thing it offered was another chance at broadcasting a new product offering, menu special, etc. “The internet, social media sites; people flock to the goofy stuff, that’s the stuff that gets attention.”

What social media strategies are you cooking up?

(Note: This post originally appeared on Salesforce Marketing Cloud blog on March 11,  2013.)

4 Virtues of Social Media From Cory Booker

Cory-Booker-and-Social-Media-300x225As Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker has taken to social media platforms like Twitter with gusto to interact with his Newark constituents on a daily basis; responding to questions, pointing people towards resources, and even listening to complaints.

Booker has also been using his social media presence to bring attention to his food stamp challenge, and famously used Twitter to help out in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. In an incredible SXSW session on Sunday, Mayor Booker discussed the virtues of social media and what he’s learned about his constituents through his regular use of social platforms.

Here’s just a handful of takeaways from this inspiring interactive session.

Social Media and Its Crowdsourcing Power

Booker loves Twitter for crowdsourcing anything he can think of. Social media is far more than a broadcast channel for the Mayor; he feels the real power in social lies in getting ideas from his followers. He’ll often retweet questions from Newark residents or visitors, letting his 1.3 million plus followers crowdsource the answers for him. He offered an example of someone tweeting him Newark restaurant recommendations. His followers gladly offer up plenty of help to Newark visitors in need. In a matter of minutes, Booker notes he can help visitors and residents of Newark with just about any question or request. Harness the collective knowledge of your social media fanbase to solve problems quicker than ever.

Transparency is Now Expected

Booker says Twitter lets him be even more transparent with his constituents. He feels public servants are under even more pressure to be transparent than just about anyone. He was elected to serve, and by sharing anything and everything that’s on his mind, any interests he has, and any causes he feels passionate about, Newark residents can really get to know their Mayor. Brands on social media would do well to keep transparency in mind at all times now, it’s not simply welcomed, it’s now expected.

Purpose Will Always Trump Popularity

Booker’s session dealt mainly with purpose. Popularity means nothing without it. It’s a great takeaway for brands looking to jump into social media as well. Popularity (likes, followers, YouTube views) are great but it’s purpose that counts. Are you using social just to grow followings and push your message to more ears? That’s fine for a start, but what else can you do? Booker’s purpose is to make a difference, every day, every minute. Social media is a huge part of that philosophy as he uses his large social footprint to raise awareness about concerns that may not even fall directly under his jurisdiction. His duties don’t stop at what’s typically part of the Mayor’s day-to-day responsibilities. Where he sees a need for awareness, he’ll use social media to spread the word. “Position will not define us, purpose will.”

Social Media and Real-Time Crisis Response

Booker discussed Hurricane Sandy and how valuable social media’s real-time nature can be during an hour of need. Booker even famously reached out to nearby residents via Twitter to invite locals to his home, where power was functional. People were able to stay over at the Mayor’s house while crews worked to restore power to Newark residents in the wake of the storm. Many organizations, such as the Red Cross have integrated social media into their crisis response efforts, even going so far as to set up a social media command center for that very purpose.

(Note: This post originally appeared on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud blog on March 10,  2013.)