We recently produced and ran a cross-media campaign that integrated beautifully into Twitter. For all the details of the campaign itself then take a look at my previous posting.

The campaign was tightly integrated into what we (XMPie) were doing at a UK trade show (MediaPro Expo 09) and was specifically targeting people to allow them to jump the queues and get a ‘VIP’ badge to attend the demonstration.

This campaign was exclusive to Twitter; which meant that anyone that wanted to experience it had to be a member of Twitter.com and they had to follow the account that we had set up. This again kept the campaign contained to a particular medium. When the campaign was initiated we seeded the viral element on about 5 twitter accounts, and we created a small press-release that went out.

Everyone therefore came into the campaign by responding to a viral message promoting the campaign or came in because of the press-release. There were a few that responded because of word-of-mouth.

Looking at the final results I believe that the viral element to the campaign was ‘potentially’ seen by 20,000 – 30,000 people. I say ‘potentially’ because only a small percentage of people will actually read every ‘tweet’ that they see from someone they are following – so the chances of seeing the viral tweet from the campaign was small. To that effect I cannot really draw any conclusion – except that the potential audience was relatively confined and small (in comparison to what it could have been if we had continually tweeted the viral element).


140 people responded to the call-to-action and followed the Twitter account that we had set up – but only 110 (79%) of those people actually came into their personalised website (RURL), which is interesting. I can assume therefore a good 15-20% of those that followed the account were automated bots or accounts looking to grow there ‘followership’ (by hoping we would follow back). There were a few that simply didn’t realised that we had sent them back a direct message and that they needed to click on the link!

Out of the 110 people that came into their personalised website 90 (81%) of them actually clicked on, and went through the process of authorising via Twitter. By doing this it enabled us to do two things within the campaign. Firstly it enabled us to validate who they were (so that we could collate more, valuable data) and it enabled us to send out the viral ‘tweet’ on their Twitter stream.

So, to that effect we only sent out approximately 85 viral tweets, promoting the campaign (excluding the seed tweets that we started from).

It was hard to gauge at the show itself how many people actually came in and presented their Twitter VIP Badge – primarily because we had such a slick set-up that no-one actually needed to jump the queues! There were certainly a few people waving them about. But, if I am honest that was not the sole intention of the campaign. The proof that this could be done and the buzz that doing it has created was the real goal. MediaPro was a vehicle upon which to base the campaign.

Talking about the buzz, the campaign has created some very interesting conversations – both on Twitter and externally. Whilst the campaign pulled in complimentary comments it also pulled in some negative comments. Primarily people were objecting about the way in which we implemented the viral elements. The most notable of which can be followed on the Print CEO blog, written by Eric Vessels from WhatTheyThink.com.  Reading all the comments from those that objected they did so because of the way in which we virally ‘tweeted’ out, although the campaign asked people to essentially ‘opt-in’ and agree to the viral element. This campaign however did not give them a choice of entering without virally tweeting, or editing the tweet that was in-turn sent.

It is interesting – the majority of those who objected were the long-standing Twitter users (Tweeple) who tended to use Twitter as a medium to enhance their personal branding. In this instance, although the viral tweet was informative and not overly assumptive it was not the words of the those that were apparently sending it.

I personally agree with these comments – tweeting virally on behalf of someone needs to be approached with great caution. I appreciate that their are hundreds of third party sites that actually do the same  on a much larger scale), but people probably either expect it with those services, or they are not as concerned about their personal branding. That said, it’s probably the one area that I would change it I did things again, providing more choice about the viral element.

With all said and done – the campaign was a huge success. We secured new prospects from the back of it (and hopefully future business) and we proved once again that XMPie is pushing forward in this industry forging new ideas and pathways within the Cross Media marketplace. This is the start of Cross Media 2.0 in my opinion. The merging of integrated cross-media and social media.

It is possible to use social media as a out-bound communications channel – however this is not what we did. We used Twitter to create a buzz, and asked anyone that was interested to express that interest by following us. Only then did we start immediately engaging them in conversation and drawing them into the campaign. We did not send out 10,000 emails (spray and pray) to try and gain some interest, we used Twitter in way that said, if you are interested then come and express that interest and then we shall engage you in conversation.

Think about the possibilities:

  • A University or college could set up Twitter accounts directed at general admissions (UniOfLifeAdmissions for example) and anyone that followed that account automatically received a personalised website (RURL) that allowed them to ‘formally’ express an interest and receive a personalised prospectus pack – with follow-on communication about open-days and events!
  • What about a corporate organisation who sent out personalised website (RURLs) to anyone that followed them effectively creating a personalised website for anyone interested in that company? The website could collect more information, suggest subscriptions to other news sources within the organisation – or even direct people in the right direction to other more relevant areas based on their personal interests.
  • What about a book publisher, looking to promote a new book. Anyone that followers the author’s or publisher’s twitter account gets pulled into a campaign to engage them in conversation about the book, collecting data and allowing people to share it amongst others? Maybe even offering a personalised copy of the book as an incentive.

To me Twitter is about following the people that you are interest in, or aspire to become – and about promoting yourself and engaging in conversation. Integrated Cross Media is all about engaging people in conversation across different forms of media. The integration of Twitter and XMPie’s Cross Media enables people and organisations to engage in conversation and then to become more personalised (and relevant) in their engagement.

There is a huge responsibility of on those developing these types of campaigns as well. Doing this particular campaign has raised a lot of questions. The one that I had to keep asking myself was, “I know that we could do this – but should we?“. For example we could have continually tweeted out virally, we could have sent all the followers of our follower direct messages promoting the campaign. We could have sent personalised websites to anyone that mentioned ‘XMPie’ or ‘MediaPro’ in their tweets. We could have done a huge amount. We did however choose to keep this campaign exploratory and specific – and even then we generated some negative buzz!

As Gary Vaynerchuck recently said in a presentation, “Technology has no feelings” – make no mistake this will happen and it will become more commonplace. How this evolves from here is where it gets interesting!
[message type=”info”]Full disclosure: At the time of writing this article the author was employed by XMPie, a Xerox Company. [/message]