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What is Kony 2012?

It might appear insensitive or even a little gruesome to look at the social media marketing implications of a thirty minute video dealing with a Uganda warlord, but we have to recognise that in much of social media marketing in business stems from lessons learned.

We watch how people use Facebook and Twitter – and develop commercial techniques based on this consumer behaviour. But Kony 2012 deliberately and almost brazenly uses all the techniques, activities and methods that commercial social media marketing has developed over the past few years. Because of its subject matter, it breaks a few rules, and refuses to pigeon-hole its audience, and these are the lessons that can be learned afresh by marketers. Like a business’s social media marketing, the filmmaker Jason Russell wants to fully exploit people’s social media activity and behaviour – how they connect with each other through social media platforms. Kony 2012 is a 30-minute documentary about a despot Ugandan. The hard-hitting film, uploaded by a group seeking to expose the guerilla leader Joseph Rao Kony. It has become an unlikely internet phenomenon – watched more than 30m times online in the first 48hours after posting.   [youtube]

So what are the lessons for social media marketing?

Lesson 1 – Length is not important, content is

For a long time, social media marketers have believed that content must be short and easily consumed – probably while the viewer is performing other tasks. Kony 2012 is almost 30 minutes long and makes a persuasive case that, if the subject matter is interesting enough and presented in an interesting way, then you can gain – and hold – peoples attention.

Lesson 2 – Kids can pay attention

According to YouTube statistics, the Kony video is most popular with young women aged 13 to 17 and men aged 18 to 24. Although the film is largely about boy soldiers and the atrocious acts committed on young girls, nobody would have suggested the film is a ‘fit’ for this audience. Charities who work with kids find it just as difficult to target young donors or activists. For those involved in social media marketing to this audience, the lesson is not to take them for granted – it is possible to connect with them at length and at a deeper level.

Lesson 3 – Engage, Engage, Engage

The phenomenal success of the Kony 2012 is an object lesson in engagement. The team behind the campaign have used the full gamut of social media marketing tools to make sure the video and campaign go viral – from Facebook to Twitter hashtags and social sharing widgets, the video is backed up by a full campaign activity. Commercial organisations and charities can learn the lesson that all aspects of any campaign need to be developed together, and need to work together.

Lesson 4 – The Call To Action

Kony 2012 is again an almost text book example of ensuring the video leads on to further action. After 25 minutes, the call to action is to buy one of the action kits – at $15 dollars a month. The ‘offer’ is time critical as a ‘Blanket the Night’ event is planned for 20th April. The call to action and the event are aspects which will also fuel the social media marketing activities around the central video. The lessons from the success of Kony 2012 can be used by any internet marketing agency to develop a new approach to their social media activities or for their clients. If you found this tutorial helpful then please click the Like or Tweet button below or leave a comment. Remember to watch this space as we will be releasing a range of social media marketing video tutorials and blogs over the coming months.

Image credit – Jason Rhode


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