The Reward of Skipping Facebook and Embracing a Niche Social Network


BBMA2013logoOne of my favorite quotes about marketing is from Leo Burnett and it reads like a mantra: “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”

I work for Billboard, the international music publisher. Our commitment to this mantra – which is really a methodology – is no more publicly apparent than during the Billboard Music Awards each year.

The challenge we faced with the Billboard Music awards is to use social TV to expand the impact of show.

How We Prepared

Our process begins with an intensive research and analysis phase, which begins with evaluating social TV — emerging and established trends and best practices — and ends with mapping our owned platforms and audience profiles against those trends/best practices.

This all takes place before the brainstorming phase, which focuses two areas:

  1. Capitalizing on existing trends and best practices
  2. Highlighting potential never-been-done-before social TV execution

Our Execution

One of our biggest executions this year was our on-air Tumblr integration, as well as “live-GIF’ing” of our music award show on our own Tumblr account, beginning with the red carpet. Here’s an example:

Billboard Music Awards animated gif

How big?

Our Tumblr account grew by 22% (followers) the night of the show, and our content was viewed over 9.3 million times within 24 hours of the show airing.

Variety, as well as our own magazine in our Billboard Music Awards feature issue have both told the “how this all came together” story, but there were a few important pieces that fell into place before the execution details were ironed out.

The 3 Keys To Our Success

1. We systematically embraced the rise of “niche networks”

In the Social TV game, Twitter (and increasingly Facebook) are “the places to be” for real-time conversations.

We chose to embrace a burgeoning (for our brand) niche network, Tumblr, for this year’s social execution, and it paid off.

2. Innovation

We were the first show to incorporate live-GIF’s into the broadcast via bumpers, and this wouldn’t have been possible without a complete commitment to innovation from all parties involved with the show.

3. We “spoke the language of the consumers”

We could have used Tumblr to share other content types like photos, longer-form videos, or articles, but instead chose to stay true to the top-performing content type on Tumblr and limit our execution within that platform to animated GIF’s.

Because of this our efforts stood out.

I challenge each brand to embrace a “niche network” this year. It’s not just about Twitter, Facebook and YouTube anymore.


The Creative Marketer Newsletter ↓

Divergent takes on marketing, advertising, creativity, and art.