It seems that people are dancing in train stations across Europe. From ‘spontaneous’ dancing in the UK to a full-blown rendition of Do-Re-Mi from the Sound of Music in Antwerp, Belgium. Of course none of these were actually spontaneous. They were well rehearsed, well planned and well executed. The UK dancing was actually an advert for T-Mobile; and the dancing in Belgium was promoting a TV show called “In Search of Maria” (op zoek naar maria).
So these original videos were professionally produced, filmed and seeded. The majority of the dancers were professional (although, especially in the T-Mobile version there are claims that lots of bystanders joined in) and the scenes had been choreographed for months. But that’s not the end of the story. What’s particularly fascinating about these videos is not the originals (good as they are) but the reactions they promote. And in particular the number of copy-cat videos that are now on YouTube. Members of the public making their own versions of the videos. Learning the moves, copying them and then posting them for everybody to see.
This is a pattern we see repeated often in social media. Videos can become be popular and widely spread (such as the case with Susan Boyle last week) but perhaps the more striking videos are those which also prompt people to copy and respond to them. From people dancing with the song lyrics written onto their bodies to people copying perhaps one of the original homemade viral hits – the Numa Numa guy. People copy others online.
So what can we learn from this? Three main things come to mind – each of them valuable for brands engaging in social media and those of us involved in building and managing online communities.
People model behaviour online – use this to your advantage. The trend of copying the dances in these videos highlights a behaviour we see in our online communities at FreshNetworks. People model behaviour online – if your first members put up profile pictures, everybody will do; if you set a style of writing comments or responding to questions, others will use this too; and if you upload media of any kind you will find people upload similar things. This is due both to people sometimes needing and wanting an example to follow, and people wanting to contribute to the community in a meaningful and constructive way – a way that others do. Once you know this there are huge implications for how you seed, grow and manage any online community.
You can do things with small groups and have big impact. These videos were all produced with a relatively small initial audience – the people in the station. A lot of money and time was spent on perfecting this experience for them. Allowing them to video it, tell their friends and talk about they had seen. Although the videos have since been used in elaborate advertising campaigns, it is this original, small group of people who are most important. They feel special – they were the first to see, know and do something. They were able to spread the word themselves and tell other people what they had seen. With social media and online communities you don’t have to get a big audience first time. In fact is can be best not to. Make a small group of people feel special and they will spread the word for you.
People like things that make them smile. The commonality across many of the videos copied online is that they make people smile. They’re fun and rewarding. People want to be part of the ritual and experience some of the delight for themselves. That’s why they copy the videos and why they spread them. So think always – how do you make your community members smile.
We all know that social media is all about sharing. We talk about collaborating and learning from each other all the time on this blog. But we’re more than just big talkers here at FreshNetworks – we like to put our money where our mouth is. So without further ado, allow me to announce the FreshNetworks Social Media Training Series.
This set of half-day seminars over the course of the year will focus on social media education and practical training. Each session will delve into a particular sector, focusing on the ways that social media can be used for marketing and insight through case studies and discussion. We’ll have speakers from brands who’ve used social media to tell their success stories and dispense useful tips and lessons learned along the way. And most importantly we’ll provide a forum for all of our guests to chat, share thoughts and ask those burning social media questions.
The first seminar is less than 2 weeks away and will focus on the retail sector. With James Hart of Asos.com speaking about the brilliant new online community Asos Life, and Joanne Jacobs of Xenial (creators of gurgle.com) helping us all understand the monetization of social media, we think it’s going to be a really informative and engaging event. Interested in attending? Sign up on our FreshNetworks Retail 2.0 event page. But hurry, places are filling up quickly!
Last month I spoke at the Conversations event in London, debating with Jeremy Brown, from Sense Worldwide, the right that brands have to do research in social media. The debate was lively in in ten minutes we managed to pack in a lot: co-creation, why the best ideas come from outside your business, what you have a right to ask people where, online research communities and why people really will talk about washing powder online.
I talk about using research and in particular online research communities as a base for open innovation, and a way to get input from those outside your organisation. We also discuss whether there is a limit to the types of people that will engage with research in this way or the topics that are suitable for discussion. In our experience at FreshNetworks, the answers to these questions are not as clear cut as many may assume. There are a vast range of people that you can engage in an online community who may not typically be heavy users of social media for entertainment. It is also often surprising the topics people are willing to talk about – if you can establish what about the topic matters to them and why they would share and discuss this, you can get valuable insight on a really diverse range of things. Even on washing powder.
Below is the list of the Top 10 UK Marketing Blogs. At the end of this post is a useful link. It lets you subscribe to a single feed (or email) that pulls out only the best posts from the Top 20 list.
UKs Top Social Media and Marketing blogs
Russell davies – of the Godin style, Russell delivers a wide ranging mix of interesting annecdotes, tips and thoughts. Covering interactive marketing and much else besdies.
David Airey – David is a self-employed graphic designer from N.Ireland based in Scotland. His excellent blog covers all manner of graphic and logo design topics.
Chris Garrett on New Media – Chris has focus on blogging and social media. This is a great blog to follow with many practical tips on imporving your web presence and social media impact.
NevilleHobson.com – Neville brings a PR and Media Communications background to business, technology and social media issues. He also published a regular podcast: For Immediate Release
Blogstorm – The UKs top Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) blog. Great if you’re interested in social media’s impact on SEO. Patrick Altoft, who writes Blogstorm, clearly gets around. He also contributes to the next blog in our list …
E-consultancy’s Internet Marketing Blog – E-consultancy is well established as the UKs leading publisher and events company dedicated to all things internet. They have a good range of bloggers covering topics like: e-commerce, online advertising, social networks & online communities and search marketing.
Talent imitates, genius steals - Faris is Chief Technology Strategist at Mcann in NYC. So he brings an advertising and branding bent to this excellent blog. OK, so you spotted he’s in NYC, not the UK. But he’s a Brit and if you doubt that (and you’re new to Social Media) then this Slidecast of his is well worth a listen
adliterate – “dedicated to providing radical thinking for the brand advice business” I think that means advertising. The blog covers the future of advertsing and the marketing communications industries. It’s a favourite of bloggers, I often notice it at the top of blogrolls. And it’s well worth cheking out this blog showcasing the new T-mobile advert
Crackunit – This is Ian Tait’s blog. In his spare time he co-founded Poke, one of London’s top digital agencies . Crackunit covers “the space between the Web and Advertsing”. Favourite post? I guess it has to be Donk
Only Dead Fish – Neil Power Perkin is Director of Marketing and Strategy at IPC Media. Neil says his blog is“mostly about advertising, social media, communications, with a healthy dose of culture and design. And the odd post on chickens.”
repeated from my last post:
Get the UKs top marketing blogs in one feed
Just in case you want it, I have created an RSS feed that combines the best posts from this list of Top 20 UK Marketing Blogs. Here’s the feed. Or subscribe by email.
I’ve used PostRank to pull out only great feeds from a blog. 10-20% of the posts from each blog make it into the great category. So you won’t get snowed under.
Ranking the top UK Marketing blogs
I have used the ranking from AdAge. It’s the best ranking I am aware of. But there is no perfect measure of best blogs. Are there any blogs you think ought to be on the list that aren’t?
A report out this week from AT&T explores the adoption of social networking in the workplace and the rise of Enterprise 2.0. Based on 2,500 interviews in five countries (Great Britain, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany) the report looks at what use is made of which tools and how this helps (or otherwise in the workplace).
The headline findings are interesting on their own and suggest a growing acceptance and usefulness of social networks and social media in the enterprise. Almost two-thirds of those responding (65%) said that social networks had increased either their efficiency at work, or the efficiency of their colleagues. But perhaps a greater sign of the power that social networks can bring to the workplace is the 63% of respondents who said that using them had enabled them to do something that they hadn’t been able to do before.
This starts to show the real power of social media – it’s not just about letting people do old things in new ways, but about facilitating completely new ways of connecting, sharing, and indeed of working.
What is most interesting, however, is to explore this data a little bit deeper, and indeed to look at the data on a country-by-country basis. Taking only the adoption of social networks as part of “everyday life at work in Europe”, the figures reveal something surprising – Great Britain lags behind the other countries in the study:
Germany – 72% of respondents report adoption of social networks in the workplace
Netherlands – 67%
Belgium – 65%
France – 62%
Great Britain – 59%
This positioning is surprising, not least as adoption of social networks like Facebook is higher in Great Britain than elsewhere in Europe. That rate of adoption of Enterprise 2.0 may reflect more on British working styles and habits, or indeed on the mix of industries that predominate in that country. But whatever the reasoning it would be good to see higher adoption in the UK, if only because, as this survey shows, those organisations that adopt Enterprise 2.0 can be more efficient and can let you do things you have never done before. In the current economic climate, organisations could benefit from both of these.
FreshNetworks is a social media agency. We help global brands, including Telefonica, Jimmy Choo and American Express, use social media to achieve their key business goals. Latest news and press information