What started as a joke turned in to an interesting social media experiment when we decided to use kittens in our seminar marketing campaign.
How it happened
At Roundpeg, we love cats. Clyde and Truman are an integral part of our marketing. We share pictures of them and other cute feline creatures in our Twitter and Facebook time line. After all, the internet loves cats. Usually, the animal posts are just for fun.
One morning, we were talking about graphic images we could use to promote our seminars on social media. In jest, Jenna suggested we offered free kittens. I surprised her by agreeing to give it a try. So she created two graphics, both fun but in very different ways. The first was a straightforward promotion of the classes featuring some of the icons we have been using in our marketing recently and the second was a more playful tongue-in-cheek approach with cute kittens.
Once created, we released them to the Internet. We shared the images from personal and business pages and news feeds on LinkedIn and Facebook. We linked the images to different landing pages so we could watch the traffic to see which performed. Some of the results surprised us.
Facebook – People seemed to like both posts equally well when they saw them, but surprisingly the more straightforward image had a broader reach; several professional peers shared the post in their timeline, while none shared the kittens. Part of the issue is there are just so many cute kittens on Facebook, our kittens didn’t stand out, but the class graphic did.
LinkedIn – Surprisingly, the kitten post did significantly better than the straightforward post on LinkedIn. There, cute stood out. People were twice as likely to click on the kitten post than on the straightforward course listing. The kitten piece generated a series of comments, which is very rare in the LinkedIn community, and reached well beyond my first circle of contacts. A side lesson from this exercise is that larger images, not just small featured images from blog posts, are getting noticed on LinkedIn.
Social Media Lessons Learned:
- It is okay to shake things up a bit, to push the boundaries a little and learn from the experience
- Trying to do what everyone else does will not get you noticed. Look for ways to stand out, not do your own version of “me, too.”
- Don’t forget the branding. We were so focused on being cute and clever, we forgot to put our logo on the kitten piece. As it went viral from my personal account, reaching second and second tier connections on LinkedIn, we missed out on some excellent brand awareness opportunities.
- There is a difference between activity and productivity. The kitten post had tremendous reach on LinkedIn from my personal profile. People liked and commented and it was by a factor of three the most popular update I have ever shared. Not a single person clicked through or registered for the class as a result of the post in my timeline.
I shared some of my experiences in a presentation for Social Media Dames. You can listen to the presentation here