Social networking sites can have a large impact on the outcome of events. In 2010, a Facebook campaign surfaced in the form of a petition. Users virtually signed a petition asking NBC Universal to have actress Betty White host Saturday Night Live. Once signed, users forwarded the petition to all of their followers. The petition went viral and on May 8, 2010, Betty White hosted SNL.
2008 US presidential election
The 2008 US presidential campaign had a huge presence on social networking sites. Barack Obama, a virtually unknown Democratic candidate, utilized 15 different social media websites to form relationships with the millions of American citizens who utilize those networks. His social networking profile pages were constantly being updated and interacting with followers. By the end of his campaign, Obama had 5 million social media network supporters (2.5 million on Facebook and 115,000 on Twitter). The use of social networking sites in his marketing campaign gave Barack Obama’s campaign access to e-mail addresses, as posted on social network profile pages. This allowed the Democratic Party to launch e-mail campaigns asking for votes and campaign donations.
Small businesses also use social networking sites as a promotional technique. Businesses can follow individuals social networking site uses in the local area and advertise specials and deals. These can be exclusive and in the form of “get a free drink with a copy of this tweet”. This type of message encourages other locals to follow the business on the sites in order to obtain the promotional deal. In the process, the business is getting seen and promoting itself (brand visibility).
A short film released on March 5, 2012, by humanitarian group Invisible Children, Inc. This 29-minute video aimed at making Joseph Kony, an International Criminal Court fugitive, famous worldwide in order to have support for his arrest by December 2012; the time when the campaign ends.The video went viral within the first six days after its launch, reaching 100 million views on both YouTube and Vimeo. According to research done by Visible Measures, the Kony 2012 short film became the fastest growing video campaign, and most viral video, to reach 100 million views in 6 days followed by Susan Boyle performance on Britain’s Got Talent that reached 70 million views in 6 days.
In early 2012, Nike introduced its Make It Count social media campaign. The campaign kickoff began YouTubers Casey Neistat and Max Joseph launching a YouTube video, where they traveled 34,000 miles to visit 16 cities in 13 countries. They promoted the #makeitcount hashtag, which millions of consumers shared via Twitter and Instagram by uploading photos and sending tweets. The #MakeItCount YouTube video went viral and Nike saw an 18% increase in profit in 2012, the year this product was released.
Lay’s-Do Us a Flavor
In 2012, Lays created an annual social media campaign that allowed fans to create their own flavor for a $1 million prize for whatever flavor was voted the best. After 3.8 million submissions from fans who participated, the top three choices were Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken & Waffles, and Sriracha. The fans were now able to purchase the three flavors in stores then cast their vote on Facebook or Twitter for the best flavor. Lays gained a 12% increase in sales during the contest. Garlic Cheesy Bread was eventually named the winner of the contest.