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Just last week, Hong Kong-based video streaming service Viu launched an Asian version of the reality travel challenge show ‘No Sleep No FOMO’ as an effort to pump up its social media engagement with viewers. Through leveraging the social media influence of the No Sleep No FOMO cast (which amounts to roughly 12 million people), the idea is to choose artists with strong social media following in the cast so that the fan base can reach out to the Viu social engagement team and vice versa. The thinking behind it is fairly straightforward.

“Among the 3.9 billion internet users around the world, 80 per cent of them are actively engaged in social media, and the percentage is even higher for digital natives,” said Janice Lee, managing director of PCCW Media Group – Viu’s parent company. “If this is already a part of their lifestyle, we want to try an IP where we can integrate a high level of social media engagement as the core proposition of the product.”

The series, which sees social media personalities and Asian celebrities racing around the region’s major cities to complete round-the-clock-challenges in under 60 hours without rest, actually invites viewers to help the competing celebrities in a reciprocal system of engagement.  It represents a new and unprecedented foray into a new kind of social media strategy – one that goes beyond the workings of a regular SEO company’s best work and engages followers on a personal level than ever before, enabling them to contribute to the end result of the series.

With 78 per cent of businesses today having their own dedicated social media teams – up from 67 per cent five years ago – and with big brands aware that 81 per cent of consumers make buying decisions based on friends’ social media posts, it’s no surprise we are seeing this level of innovation in digital engagement. And while Viu leverages fan loyalty to increase its social following, other smart marketing tactics for building social media engagement include organising social media contests, inviting customers to be ‘co-innovators’ by soliciting product development ideas directly from them, organizing ‘Ask Me Anything (AMA)’ sessions on social media and hosting online scavenger hunts of some sort.

There are so many brilliant example of social media marketing we have seen in recent years. Wix.com succeeded in running a great engagement campaign recently through its $50,000 Superbowl contest. Using Facebook’s Live Video feature, it announced a winner of the cash prize after a football fell out of a frozen block of ice, provided the user commented on the video of course, building engagement. Then we have BlendTec’s ‘Will It Blend’ campaign – which saw the high-powered blender brand regularly blend bizarre and typically ‘unblendable’ items such as phones and makeup in a blender. Asking audiences whether the items would blend, this unique campaign has seen almost 10 years of viral marketing success with nearly one million subscribers and over 50 million views. Though the campaign started out on a mere $50 budget, its impact has propelled Blendtec onto an international stage thanks to the advent of social media – and the unwavering curiosity of millennials.

Then we have Redbull – the guru in social media marketing – which saw a 9-point lift in favorability and 1.2 million consumers reached as a result of its #thissummer Instagram campaign, which focused on the exposure of its latest Summer Edition Australian energy drink. Using typically summery scenes and incorporating classic Aussie yellow beach flags into each Instagram post, it became a drink consumers would most commonly associate with summer, keeping Redbull firmly on the Forbes Most Powerful Brand List at #76.

Perhaps the most credit needs to go to music streaming app Spotify, though, for its innovative and humorous ‘2018 Goals’ campaign. Its in-house creative team decided it would mine the search and playlist data of its user base to develop hilarious billboards to be displayed around the world, featuring bizarre playlists and user preferences. For example, one billboard in London presented a photo of Ed Sheeran beside the text “Be as loving as the person who put 38 Ed Sheeran songs on their ‘I Love Gingers’ playlist’. Billboards were featured in prominent areas of major cities for maximum visibility, so that the artists themselves – and their fans – would be tempted to take selfies in front of the billboards and post them to their social profiles, enhancing the cyclical nature of the engagement and sending the campaign viral.

Organizations and brands and slowly but surely acknowledging the power of social media to attract and engage customers, but they are also acknowledging the difficulty in getting it right.  A whopping 83 per cent of customers have reported bad experiences with social media marketing, and so finding the right approach in order to maximize the impact of your social media marketing campaigns is absolutely critical. It is also important to acknowledge social media’s power to have the opposite effect on a brand. Take Kylie Jenner’s tweet last February as an example. After one Twitter post where the influential celebrity admitted she never opened the SnapChat app anymore, the social media platform’s value significantly dropped, losing $1.3 billion of its market value in a single day. Ladies and gentlemen, the power of social media.