As millions of television fans were gearing up for the launch of Game of Thrones fourth season, the team at HootSuite was busy preparing an amazing video marketing campaign. While the average social media user may not view their social networks as warring kingdoms, HootSuite used a high-quality, timely video and a well-researched infographic to outline the current relationships and recent skirmishes of your favourite social networks, capping it off with the powerful call to action "Unite Your Social Kingdoms" with HootSuite.
Corporate attempts to capitalize on trendy media are hit-or-miss, and with a fandom as passionate and devoted as Game of Thrones, HootSuite had to tread lightly and get all the details right. There's a lot of amazing parts to this video, and I want to look at a few of them specifically:
Using Video as a Trailer into a Marketing Campaign
Game of Thrones has an iconic opening cinematic that plays at the start of each episode. Fans of the show will recognize the music immediately, and HootSuite did a fantastic job re-creating the opening scenes depicting each social network as a clockwork kingdom rising from the land, with HootSuite as the continent connecting them all.
The most amazing part of this video is that it serves the larger purpose of promoting viewers to view the associated infographic. HootSuite links viewers back to a larger infographic, outlining the recent battles between the social networks they connect. From Twitter disabling inline access to Instagram images in 2012 (thus limiting Facebook's power) to Facebook blocking Vine, the infographic gives readers a great breakdown of the current landscape of social media, and summarizes the different 'Houses' with major stats, hilarious mottos, and valuable facts.
All of this links back to HootSuite's major call to action - social media winter is coming, the major houses are gearing up for battle, and only HootSuite's owls can carry messages seamlessly between them. Pretty powerful imagery and it all relates back to their TV theme:
The bottom line is, while video is definitely central to this campaign, it's not the only content piece HootSuite created.
By using video as a 'trailer' to link back to their infographic and landing page, they took advantage of the social search and sharing power of YouTube to build awareness for their other content.
HootSuite didn't skimp on quality when they put this video together. It’s polished, and their infographic reinforces their point seamlessly.
One of the more subtle points about why this video was so successful is all about distribution. Rather than simply upload the video on YouTube and hope that their efforts drive traffic back to their site, HootSuite used their video in multiple locations, ranging from a blog post, to a targeted landing page encouraging viewers to sign up for their platform. The video is also currently the featured video on their YouTube channel, and reflected in their channel header image:
All of this is backed up by the blog post (featuring the video prominently at the top, and a corresponding social campaign around their #GameOfSocial hashtag). The more opportunities you give prospects to access your videos, the more your message will stick. This is especially relevant when you connect your video to a persuasive call to action.
Powerful Calls to Action
It's no surprise that this campaign was set to launch during the premiere of Game of Thrones. HootSuite took advantage of the social buzz around the premier to launch a highly topical video, and used a powerful call to action - Unite Your Social Thrones - to drive awareness about their platform.
Their YouTube videos take advantage of high-quality annotations to drive viewers back to their landing page:
This saves viewers from being tempted into related content on YouTube, and gives everyone a clear next step - Unite Your Social Kingdoms with the HootSuite's social management platform.
This landing page is also linked from the description in the YouTube video, meaning viewers who are looking for more information are offered the opportunity to sign up for a HootSuite account, or see why the brand made the video.
YouTube is a powerful distribution source for your video content, but make no mistake - House YouTube wants nothing more than to keep your viewers on YouTube. By using annotations in your video, and proper links in the description of your video, you can pull your viewers back to your content. Once they're on your site though, make sure you keep them there!
Tying It All Together
As the top social media platforms begin ramping up their acquisition and retention strategy - from high profile acquisitions to quietly severing ties with competing social networks - HootSuite is well poised as the social media dashboard that connects all networks. The Game of Thrones themed campaign around Uniting Your Social Networks was well timed, and a cross-platform distribution strategy involving video, infographics, a social media strategy, and a targeted landing page allowed HootSuite to effectively push their platform alongside the launch of Game of Thrones Season 4.
It's worth noting that HootSuite wasn't promoting a new feature, or even a new development to their platform. They were simply taking advantage of similarities between the current social network landscape and a major television premier. The devil is in the details, and HootSuite definitely came out on top.
The video currently has well over half a million views on LinkedIn, and continues to take centre stage on their YouTube Channel. The #GameOfSocial campaign generated a massive social response, and the infographic/video post was shared thousands of times on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
HootSuite took advantage of the social power of video to newsjack the launch of a well loved television series, and the brand is leading the charge as the great uniting force.