helping brands make perfect sense of social media, from IAB UK’s social media council

by Rob Salmon, Director of Digital Marketing, Torchbox. Follow

Back in 1987, BROS’s top quality (in my opinion!) pop song demanded an answer to the question: ‘when will I be famous?’

It is a question that I reckon thousands upon thousands of social media campaigns could ask of their owners.

You could have the best content offering in the whole wide world (we looked at the importance of social media content last time round) but unless you go out and shout about it, there’s a good chance it will remain anonymous.

Back in the late nineties, I was the sponsorship manager on Carling’s Premier League sponsorship. We paid lots for the rights – but then we paid lots more to make the sponsorship famous through PR, advertising, relationship marketing and via a competition website.

In my mind, social media campaigns should be no different. You get the offer up and running. Then you do all you can to make your target market aware of it. ‘Build it and they will come’ might work for a minority of campaigns but for the majority you’ve got to get out there and shout about it. Think Tears for Fears – ‘Shout Shout Let It All Out!’.

So how do you do that? By utilising all the marketing tools you have at your disposal.

Let’s take the example of a Facebook page with the simple objective of growing a community of brand loyalists (yes, I’m sure you’d have more comprehensive objectives that that…)

Advertise: There are hundreds of thousands of Facebook pages. To achieve stand out, consider advertising it with Facebook. It’s not rocket science to say that if your target market is aware of your offering they are far more likely to interact with it.

PR: Get out there and PR the new page. Source relevant blogs, forums etc. Let them know about your offer and what makes it newsworthy.

Your Media Channels: From email newsletters, to website integration to TV commercials, to business cards (surely you’d be better off listing this than a fax number?!) to email sign off. Put it out there. Shout about it.

Do this sort of stuff for a compelling offering and you’re far more likely to trigger a viral spread where friends share with friends who share with friends…

Whatever you think of BROS and their infectious pop songs. There’s one thing you can’t deny. ‘When will I be famous?’ was a massive hit. If you want your social campaign to be similarly successful, it’s worth asking your agency how they are going to make it famous.

PS If you have no idea who BROS are, I’m guessing that it is down to the fact you are lucky enough to be too young to remember them. Hey ho. Fear not. You can view ‘When will I be famous?’ on Youtube.

Dan Neal (dpneal)
March 12, 2010

Great post Rob. As you pointed out, I think it’s really important to remember the range of channels that you can use to shout! Each one may only have a small effect on their own, but collectively they can have a massive difference.
Oh, and I only just remember BROS! ;)

Joseph Beale
March 12, 2010

Rob, you’ve obviously read some Karl Marx and taught yourself a few dances! There’s so much rubbish on facebook, as well as the good stuff, it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd.

Olly Willans
March 12, 2010

Not sure i’m there with you on Bros, Rob, but the rest of it is spot on. I’ve just read a good post over at showing how their peaks in traffic have come mostly from celebrity tweets. If you can get people talking about you online, you are in a good place.

Gary Bird
March 12, 2010

Hi Rob,

I’ll join Dan in saying that this is a great post. Don’t think I’ve read a post on how to make a successful social media campaign that actually makes sense, is easy to follow, and mentions other aspects of the marketing mix to boost your campaign!

One questions, on the facebook advertising front, I know you’ve got to be in it to win it but if your promoting information for behavioural change how do you differentiate yourself from organisations selling products etc? Would you just be seen as another “Advertiser”? Are there other ways within a social media content to promote content?

Kind regards


Rob Salmon
March 12, 2010

Thanks for the comments…

Gary – I reckon the key is reaching your target market and then having compelling content about that market.

I’m passionate about tennis. If a tennis brand had targeted
me this week following terrible defeat to Lithuania with an advert saying: ‘Have your say on how to make British tennis great again’ along with a poll on whether the captain should stay in place, I’d have happily clicked!

In the same way people campaigning for behavioural change have the opportunity to find people who are passionate about their subject matter and then offer up content through ads that will get people to come on in and get involved!

Sometimes if the content offer on the call to action is compelling enough you can bring new recruits to the area you’re passionate about too…


Henry Elliss, Tamar
March 12, 2010

I’m only disappointed that you didn’t manage to crow-bar a few more early-nineties pop song puns in there, Rob…

Rob Salmon
March 12, 2010

Don’t want to disappoint Henry as when it comes to pop references ‘i’m your man’. Not sure if ‘it’s a sin’ but I’m ‘never going to give them up’! Have a great weekend…

March 12, 2010

Ha ha, legendary. That’s much better!

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