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Simple Marketing Lessons From Samsung’s Oscar Selfie

Posted on the 15 April 2014 by Marketingtango @marketingtango


Even if you didn’t watch the Academy Awards live on television, chances are you’ve seen the event’s record-breaking “selfie”. The star-studded photo shared by Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres got retweeted around the world and crashed Twitter within the first hour it was posted.

It’s the kind of viral publicity you really can’t put a price tag on, notwithstanding the nearly $20 million advertising buy that Samsung invested in the show. The company also provided ABC with phones on the agreement that the product would be integrated into the show somehow. Although Ellen’s tweet itself didn’t mention Samsung, the brand was visible on TV at the time.

If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014

While you may not have a media budget the size of Samsung’s, or a Twitter following as numerous as Ellen’s, there are nevertheless some simple lessons that all small businesses can draw from the Samsung Selfie Story.

Know Your Audience

Are your customers on social media? Do you know the kind of content they’re looking for and what they like to share? Ellen has a pretty good handle on what her audience likes.

Give Out Samples

Don’t just demonstrate your product. Provide a sample that people can try for themselves, and if they need help, show them how to use it. Leading up to the Oscars, Samsung provided ABC with phones on the understanding that the product would be integrated into the broadcast. According to the Wall Street Journal, “During rehearsals Samsung executives trained Ms. DeGeneres on how to use the Samsung Galaxy,”  two people familiar with the matter said.

Be Awesome

Ellen captioned her celebrity-selfie as “Best photo ever.” She then got people to retweet it 2 million times in a matter of hours. To paraphrase Scott Stratten, people don’t share boring or mediocre — they spread awesome. Make your company’s content so awesome that people are compelled to share it with everyone they know.

Say It With Pictures

Images communicate more quickly and are more universally understood than text. We’ve previously written about the importance of adding visuals to your integrated marketing efforts, especially since photos have been shown to drive greater engagement on social networks.

Simplify Sharing

Make it easy for your audience to share your content by including buttons that link to their favorite social networks.

Be Real or Beware

Don’t try to fake who or what you are as a brand. It’s only a matter of time until your audience learns the truth. In the case of Samsung, it didn’t take long before someone on Twitter noticed that Ellen was also tweeting with an Apple iPhone during the show. As the Journal noted, “Samsung declined to comment about Ms. DeGeneres’ iPhone usage.”

Ask For the Sale

Is there a call to action on your website or marketing materials? Do your prospects know what you want them to do next? Ellen said she wanted to set a new record. So she specifically asked her live TV audience to retweet the photo she posted. They responded by shattering the previous retweet record even before the ceremony concluded.

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