Friday Five: Spicing up social media

I'm in a shower
I'm in a shower
Look at your social media strategy. Now look at Old Spice‘s. Now look at yours. Now back to theirs.

Does your strategy look like theirs? No. Could it? I don’t know.

But there may be a few lessons higher education marketers could glean from Old Spice’s ridiculously successful social media campaign featuring the Old Spice Guy, actor Isaiah Mustafa (@isaiahmustafa on Twitter).

The campaign, carried out by Old Spice’s ad agency, Wieden+Kennedy, is already being hailed by Mashable as the archetype of a successful social media campaign. By using the @oldspice Twitter account (personified by Mustafa’s character) as an avenue to solicit questions for Old Spice Guy to answer on YouTube, the campaign elicited “almost unequivocally positive results” across social media platforms. “Hell, even the comments on YouTube were overwhelmingly positive — and that never happens.”

So, what worked for Old Spice that could work for your social media efforts? Here are five thoughts to ponder:

1. Integrate. Yes, Old Spice has a marketing budget that is sixteen bajillion times greater than even the most prosperous higher ed marketing department. The company spent a lot on television air time to build awareness of the Old Spice brand before executing the online campaign. But the point here is not about budgets. It’s about connecting your social media marketing and visibility efforts with your other marketing. Is social media integrated into your overall marketing strategy?

2. Imitate. It’s the sincerest form of flattery, they say. But too often it falls flat. By now, the Old Spice shark has probably been jumped. But one higher ed entity that seized the opportunity of parodying Old Spice Guy in a YouTube video was Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library. The library’s Study Like a Scholar, Scholar video is a clever send up. (Thanks to @radiofreegeorgy, et. al., for sharing the link via Twitter.)

3. Personalize it. Old Spice has done some great marketing over the years. But one key to success with this campaign was the way Wieden+Kennedy personalized the brand in the form of Old Spice Guy. Even beyond personalization, the campaign showed the ridiculously handsome and chiseled Mustafa to be a real human being. In one video response — this one to his daughter, Haley — he speaks to her directly, explaining that he was until recently just another unknown actor. How can we in higher ed move away from speaking in the institutional voice and better personalize our brands?

4. Take risks. Opening up the Old Spice brand to social media, soliciting questions and daring to respond with such immediacy, was risky. How willing are we to step out beyond our social media comfort zones and open ourselves up as Old Spice did?

5. Be prepared to respond — in Internet time. How long should we wait to respond to a comment or post on one of our social media venues? If the Old Spice campaign is the new standard, the answer is: Don’t waste a second. On the marketing blog mUmbrella, Tim Burrowes tracked the Old Spice Guy’s rapid response to Twitter questions. “In the last 24 hours,” he wrote, “I count 116 new Old Spice videos. Every one in response to a Tweet. Let’s say that again – 116 videos. Wieden + Kennedy must have an army of copywriters working on this.” Insane.

So, is the Old Spice campaign a true game-changer for social media? Is it the social media campaign our social media campaigns want to smell like?

I’m on a blog.

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Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

6 thoughts on “Friday Five: Spicing up social media”

  1. One other point I should have made in this post: Know when to quit. The folks behind this campaign adroitly followed the show-biz adage of “always leave ’em wanting more.” They ran the campaign briefly, built a lot of buzz, and quit while they were ahead.

  2. This is a great campaign that has really built a lot of buzz. They hit the target market square in the nose, they did it uniquely, in Internet time, took risks, and left them wanting more – like you said. They added a lot of smart humor and some great one-liners. I am sure this will be imitated many times and many ways in the future. Silver fish hand catch!

  3. Great as usual–my favorite takeaways–respond in real time and know when to quit. Old Spice did a great job of both. Just like Geoge Castanza and Kruger–goin’ out on a high note.

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