When Bud Light jumped on the Area 51 trending topic, they failed to understand the new reality of social media marketing: people do not care anymore.
Here is the deal. Some guy thought it was a good idea to organize a Facebook event to storm area 51. The “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” soon gathered over a million Facebook users who declared they would attend the event.
And of course, brands, starving for attention, jumped on the trend. Because in 2019, it seems that is what marketing has become. One brand particularly caught my attention, Bud Light. As you can see from the below tweet, the America’s favorite light beer brand came up with a beautiful new can design, the Area 51 special edition.
But soon, a Twitter user called them out on the social media stunt: “Is this real news?” he asked. And Bud Light was quick to reply: “51,000 RTs and it will be.” Yes, the good old “make users retweet anything that brings your brand traction from people who may have never even looked at your Twitter feed.”
51,000 RTs and it will be.
— Bud Light (@budlight) July 17, 2019
But that is not what caught my attention. What I really saw with this “stunt” exercise, is that, even 5 days after the tweet, Bud Light never managed to reach its target of 51,000 RTs. While getting 38.5K Rts is still impressive, it also says a lot about the state of social media marketing.
1. Be selective with what you post.
Jumping on trending topics is great and it can help keeping your brand relevant to its target audience. But not all trending topics are good for your brand. Be selective.
When planning a potential reactive post, ask yourself 3 questions:
- Does my brand have the credibility or equity to talk about this topic?
- Will my community understand why this appears on their feed?
- Will this have a positive impact on my brand?
If the answer is YES to all three, then, by all means, put your best creatives on the job.
2. Stop being lazy
Always remember, you are a brand, not someone’s best friend, parent or lover. Your community does not have to engage with your content. You must earn your right to be part of their feeds. They are not your devoted spokespersons, this is not 2015 anymore. Your audience is more educated and more sophisticated than ever. They have seen it all and won’t be impressed easily.
So before challenging them to do something (like get 51,000 RTs), ensure your goal is actually feasible. Failure to do so will not look bad on them, but on you. And in my opinion, it portrays the growing “laziness” of brands looking for cheap wins instead of long term brand building.
Now I am conscious that me writing about this post by Bud Light will contribute to spreading the message and, perhaps, even get them a few more RTs. David Ogilvy was right after all: there is no such thing as bad publicity.