The Superheroes of Social Media

Before I start this blog I would like to apologise for it’s geekiness.  It began one evening, over a bottle of wine as I attempted to explain to a techno-phobic friend the differences between the social media tools… and all I can say, is that the metaphors took over.

Like a shockwave the impact of social media has rippled through the world of communications, marketing and PR.  In the last 18 months social media has become a real hero of communication…

Introducing the Social Media Super Heroes

Twitter is… Batman

Although powerful on its own, like The Caped Crusader, Twitter jumps to a completely different level when you add a few gadgets into the mix.  Hootesuite and Tweetdeck are to Twitter what the Batmobile and Batcave are to Batman – whilst fully functional sans-equipment, with a little helping hand from the contents of their utility belts they are both able to monitor situations, and extend their reach.

Brand monitoring is a major part of the Twitter experience, and when used affectively companies can target dissatisfied customers swiftly.  Affective brand monitoring with relevant notifications and pro-active use means that any negative situation can be quickly identified and dealt with – rather like a certain Batsignal…

Facebook is… Professor X

Professor Charles Xavier surrounds himself with webs of people – his Facebook list would be an interesting read.  But like Facebook, his communication methods are subtle – unlike Twitter where often to be heard, you need to continuously broadcast of messages, Facebook requires a more gentle approach.

Persuading a customer to share content on Facebook requires a greater sense of trust, and like the telepathy that Professor X uses, often a greater understanding of the customer.

FourSquare is… Mr Fantastic

Mr Fantastic?  If becoming stretchy is fantastic, I think I’d rather stay completely unremarkable.  As superpowers go Reed Richards really got the short straw.  To be honest, stretchiness is pretty socially awkward… rather like delving into your bag to Check In on a night out.

So much potential.  So far to go.

I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise for this completely whimsical and fairly useless blog.

But I look forward to hearing if anyone else has any more social media superheroes up their sleeves.

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The Apprentice – What Online Marketeers can learn from the BBC

So you think this series of The Apprentice is all about sausages, beach towels and Slouch-Gate?  But the television show goes far beyond the 1-hour-a-week of programming.

Being an electronics entrepreneur, it shouldn’t really be surprising that Alan Sugar’s Apprentice is well supported by social media.  Although Lord Sugar has no hand in the production, the BBC has clearly worked hard to embrace this technology to really champion the  consumption of the reality TV show.  Not only does The Apprentice have an official Twitter feed (@bbcapprentice), you can also Tweet Baron Sugar of Clapton himself via @Lord_Sugar.

But its not just Twitter and Facebook pages that have made the campaign surrounding the show so successful – the BBC uses the The Apprentice name to encourage cross-viewing.   The Apprentice campaign is constructed like a well-built online SEO and SM campaign – different BBC programmes are used like microsites to boost brand engagement; at the end of the BBC1 show viewers are invited to switch over to watch The Apprentice: You’re Fired, and following that, viewers are often told that they can see further interviews with the failed applicants on BBC Breakfast the following morning.

In this way fans are guided through The Apprentice experience, but are subsequently encouraged to engage with distinctly separate brands all linked to the BBC core.

The experience viewers have becomes much more immersive, interactive, and engaging than simply being shown a stand alone programme – just like a customer’s experience on an online microsite.

By using this microsite structure of television scheduling the BBC can work to attract consumers with a strong brand affinity.  Although these programmes will have the bonus affect of potentially attracting new viewers, they also will deepen relationships and loyalty with current Apprentice fans.

All aspects of the BBC campaign are integrated and work together to get results – even if the contestants do not…

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Happy Birthday Apollo Victoria!

There aren’t many 80 year olds whose birthday celebration involves Bollywood dancing,  rollerskates and semi-nudity.  But the Apollo Victoria’s 80th Birthday Gala Performance included it all.

Last night, the theatre, currently the London home to hit musical Wicked, hosted a star-studded cast to ensure the celebrations went down in theatre history.

I’ve admitted in a previous post to being a geek – but when I read online that the cast of Starlight Express would be reuniting a whole new geek bubbled up inside –  I grew up listening to the original cast recordings, I know all the words, all the versions – and my goodness I wasn’t going to miss a chance to sing along with the stars of my childhood.

Aside from a few technical hiccups, the one-night-only performance was spectacular.  The first act saw the cast of Wicked (with a few musical-theatre friends) guide the audience though the Apollo’s history – from cinema  to live act venue – on a rollercoaster of ballads and high-energy dance.  The cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert were transformed into the Supremes (those guys have some amazing legs!), the Jersey Boys performed a fantastic medley of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and Sharon D Clarke (the original Killer Queen (We Will Rock You)) belted out a fantastic Gladys Knight.  Even Bucks Fizz reunited to bring the theatre into the 80s – complete with a skirt-ripping Making Your Mind Up.

But it was the second act that we die-hard theatre fans had been waiting for.  With a sequined Christopher Biggins as host, we were treated to performances by Wayne Sleep and James Fox, and some big musical numbers from some of the shows that had graced the Apollo’s stage.

The one let down of the night were the performances of the Bombay Dreams numbers – clearly the orchestra pit was not large enough to accommodate sitars and the other instruments needed to create the Bollywood sound, meaning the performers mimed along to a backing track… the dance routines were stunning, but this tarnished the gloss of the evening for me.

And Starlight Express? Fan-bloody-tastatic.  I don’t care that Greaseball slipped over during his solo in Rolling Stock, he was still note perfect even when his arms were pin-wheeling.

It must have been like returning home for a lot of the original cast.  Gone were the tubes and piping that made up their costumes in the 80s, 90s and 00s, this performance saw the casts skating and singing together is suits and ties – paying their respects to the birthday girl that had been the musical’s home for 7,461 performances.

It was a night of laughter, singing, dancing, clapping and cheering.  The Apollo Victoria’s Charity Gala Performance was a fantastic trip down memory lane, whilst showcasing some very current West End talent.

Happy Birthday old girl.

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