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Hey, lets trend on Twitter!

April 15, 2012

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I can remember when ‘viral video’ became a term used in the ad agency world. “Hey”, someone would say earnestly, “We should make a viral video”.

The equivalent would be setting out to make an ad campaign to win a Cannes Lion.

That’s not the point of this whole marketing thing we’ve decided to explore. The point is to tell a story and create a brand. No really, that’s the point. Sometimes we get caught up in the tools of the day and forget to focus on the point.

Take Twitter.

I’m still 50/50 on whether Twitter has a point in marketing for most brands. We use it at Colgate – the stated goal of the Twitter feed is alumni engagement. Keep the proud alums engaged with the school.

If you know anything about Twitter, you know it has a version of ‘viral’. It is called ‘trending topics’. Trending topics show up on the left side of the screen, when Twitter is viewed on the web. On the Twitter app, trending topics might show up in the “discover” section.

Colgate U loves the number 13. Legend has it that it was started with 13 men, who had 13 dollars and 13 prayers. The zip code is 13346 (13 + 13). The address is 13 Oak Drive.

You get the point.

Anyway, 13 matters. And Friday the 13th, the mac-daddy of the 13’s is Colgate Day.

So we decided to try and ‘game’ Twitter. The idea was simple: get our passionate alums to post Happy Colgate Day at 13:13pm EDT. We would schedule some posts for before and after, mostly RT’s from earlier in the day for 1:05, 1:10 and 1:15 to grease the wheels. Then, we would watch.

Twitter has reported that they exceed 200 million tweets pon some days. To break in and trend, one needs thousands of tweets.

On a Friday just after lunch.

The goal really was to get people involved. We didn’t set out to trend. The act of trying to trend would connect alums to an event together. That is the goal of social media – to connect a community – to rally them around something.

So when we trended, I was both thrilled and scared. I’m not entirely sure if we can do it again. But here’s the deal: we’re going to come together as a community and try to trend for longer. We have some ideas. We have some passionate people in the community.

We have Twitter.

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