Let me entertain you


Twitter is on every lips at the moment: tales of towering growth battle with news of celebs twittering the night away while the rest of the world learns about worldwide events on their Tweetdeck.

So it’s not a very big surprise that the latest marketing campaigns all use Twitter: yesterday Andrew McCormick of Revolution Magazine mentioned the creative WB Harry Potter Twitter campaign, while US TV show Dollhouse has decided to promote the release of the series on DVD with “Twitter-enriched banners”.

It’s no wonder that entertainment brands are particularly active (and successful) on this front. Entertainment is by essence a very social activity, a powerful way to identify and connect with your peers. So when your key-target happens to be Gen Y or early-adopters who are more than likely to be thirsty for any kind of additional experience then the path is wide open to experiment with all sorts of social media tools and engage with followers. Interestingly enough they’re called fans and not customers.

TV shows and bands have been very active on that front, leading the community activation with Twitter character profiles, blogs, forums, online and offline games including ARGs (only last week fans of Muse managed to get the band’s ARG to the sixth most popular trends on Twitter). And when expectations are not met, the backlash can be pretty strong, with rumours claiming that Brüno is facing a box-office drowning due to calamitous Twitter reviews (Update: also see what effect Twitter had on Inglourious Basterds).

Social media activation by the entertainment industry acts as a magnifying glass of what’s happening elsewhere: there are lots of other brands out there, they don’t necessarily connect with their customers by creating a convoluted ARG but they engage daily with their customers, just as we do for Skype.

Charlene Li has just released her ENGAGEMENTdb report which analyses the engagement of company in social media and correlates it to financial performance. Some of the findings are very interesting, especially when analysing the scores by industry. Of course there are some justified reservations (Patricio Robles has voiced most of them). However what I would like to keep from this report is that no matter what solution is chosen, companies have to find the mix of social media that works for them.

Best pratices and reports can give an idea of what’s happening out there, set benchmarks and reassure shareholders, but in the end customers are out there, waiting to be talked to in a human way which will both improve their customer experience and with which they can identify (and not simply for financial reasons). So go out there and try it, you’ll see social media is not that scary 😉