Social moves fast. Today’s media frenzy is tomorrow’s old news.
Unfortunately, though, speed isn’t something that’s built into the traditional agency and client model: brief, strategy, creative and execution with regular feedback sessions throughout. For this reason, speed of response can be your friend and your secret weapon in the battle for consumers’ attention.
That’s great in theory, I hear you say, but what does that mean, exactly, when the rubber hits the road? Here’s the story of how we went viral in a day by combining listening with creativity - at speed. And what we learned along the way.
Tube Strike Map v1.0
If there’s one thing Brits love it’s a good old rant and Twitter has become the forum for many a blow-out since its inception. There are some topics that get our collective backs up more than others. Most recently it’s been this summer’s #TubeStrike, the first of which was planned for a hot Wednesday in July. As the day drew closer people took to Twitter to share their opinion. So we thought we would have a little listen to what people were saying.
What we learned: Lady London has a big old potty mouth. And that’s when we had an idea.
What if we grabbed all the bad language tweets used with #TubeStrike and visualised them across a map of London in real time glory?
We thought that could be fun, and would show people what can be done when you move at speed to catch a wave, albeit a wave of f*cks, w*nks and c*nts. In one day we listened, had an idea, designed it and deployed it. We seeded it via our social channels and alerted the press. Then we sat back and waited to see what would happen.
The results were a mild success - about 5,000 visits and some press from our good friends at The Drum. Not bad for one day’s work.
Tube Strike Map v2.0
Then, we had a stroke of luck (in a manner of speaking) when a second tube strike was announced! This gave us a perfect opportunity to look at what we had done previously and improve upon it for a repeat run.
First we changed the site to make it more shareable, added Instagram content, tweaked the design and included a swear-counter that totted up the top 5 swearwords or insults used.
Version 1.0 of the map taught us that we needed to get content out to media much quicker as the overwhelming feedback was positive, but it reached the press after it was no longer newsworthy. So, we changed this and alerted media about a day before Tube Strike 2.0 - giving them time to prepare.
We also readied our community managers to stoke the fires and reach out to #tubestrike users and share a little love with them.
The results? Things exploded. First news outlets like The Drum, FHM, BusinessInsider, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Metro and many others wrote about it. Then, the public got wind of it and started sharing it numbers: big numbers.
The site received over 196K views in less than 24 hours. Traffic came from over 172 different countries and we tracked almost 29K tweets mentioning our site - reaching almost 3 million people. Crucially, in the days following the second tube strike, we also received several new business enquiries from potential clients.
So, in summary, here’s what we learned:
- Always be ready to spot opportunities and look for ideas that will already have people talking.
- Listen, listen and listen to what people are saying - spot a pattern and amplify it.
- Mobilise and move at speed.
- Get the word out there, as soon as possible. As we learned with Tube Strike v1.0, a day late can be too late, so all departments (listening, design, social, development and PR need to work in unison).
No-one can guarantee that your work will go viral - but if you’re prepared to take risk and move at speed, you maximise your chances.
Lauren McGregor is a senior account manager at creative digital and social agency Impero.