Word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing strategies for a simple reason: Consumers trust other consumers more than they do brands. Regardless of a company's trustworthiness, its message resonates most when it's delivered or supported by fans and customers. But earning an outside endorsement and transmitting it to a scalable audience can be a challenge. Despite its massive fan base on social media, Fox Entertainment knew that attracting new audiences to the film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes would require broadening its reach and, for that, the film studio turned to Speakr.
A social media marketing platform that connects brands to influencers, Speakr provides companies with access to more than 22,000 top content creators on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Facebook, and Pinterest. Through Speakr's social influencer platform, brands are matched with potential influencers based on their compatibility. "It's a little like dating," Marco Hansell, CEO of Speakr, jokes.
For Fox, the driving force behind its work with Speakr was sustaining—and eventually growing—the social buzz surrounding Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in an effort to attract new audiences. The studio began promoting the film early, running a television advertisement during the Walking Dead finale in March 2014, roughly three months before the film's release. The commercial was a teaser, visually driven, and with little plot detail. The ad featured a #dawnofapes hashtag, which became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter.
"That ad spot really kicked off our campaign. It got everyone talking on Twitter, but we wanted to keep the conversation going," Marc Weinstock, president of domestic theatrical marketing for 20th Century Fox, says. When the company began working with Speakr, generating a steady conversation became a matter of tapping the right influencers.
Speakr has a separate platform for influencer identification and development, but in essence, the technology scouts Twitter, Instagram, and other data firehoses to track and analyze ongoing conversations, determine which users are generating the most engagements, and pinpoint what those engagements are about. The analysis is qualitative and quantitative, and strikes a balance between automatic and "very human," according to Hansell. "Once we identify users that would make great influencers for specific areas, we have someone on the development team reach out to them and invite them to sign up. They then register through our platform and become resources for the brands that work with us," he explains.
Because those users self-identify and share data such as their age, location, and interests, finding appropriate influencers becomes fairly simple. Speakr's platform also consistently monitors the conversations its network of influencers has to ensure that they are not only reaching a massive audience, but driving engagements about relevant topics too. "You could have two people with the same number of followers, but one could get no engagement with a post about a comedy film while the other gets hundreds of engagements. It all depends on the context," Hansell says.
In Fox Entertainment's case, Speakr delivered solid results. The weeklong Twitter campaign drew 43 influencers who engaged audiences through content creation and distribution. Influencers shared film assets, including trailers and photos, as well as original content, such as photos of the influencer posing with a Dawn of the Planet of the Apes poster or standee. The campaign reached more than 10,258,677 people and generated 166,000 engagements, including retweets and clicks, and resulted in an "impressive" 1.6 percent engagement rate, according to Weinstock.
"Our campaigns usually have a standard recipe. Every movie has a specific targeted audience that we start with and then we branch out. What [Speakr] was able to do for us in an efficient manner was find influencers that like this movie or this genre and then get them to...talk about the movie in a very organic way," Weinstock says.
"Today's audiences are really savvy. They don't want to be sold and marketed to. They want to hear about a movie from their peers on social networks, which makes our job harder," Weinstock says. Thanks to Speakr, Fox Entertainment can connect with its audiences through a source they trust. "What Speakr does," Weinstock adds, "is help us close the gap between us and our audience."
During its weeklong campaign with Speakr, Fox Entertainment was able to do the following:
- attract 43 influencers;
- deliver 10,258,677 impressions;>
- earn 166,000 engagements; and
- generate a 1.6 percent engagement rate.