Why Transmedia Is The New Viral Gold For Influencer Marketing
By Dr. Chester Branch
The old form of content marketing is dying. It’s become nothing more than ‘white noise.’ So marketers are relying on influencer marketing as a way to break through the clutter and be heard. This move often overlaps and complements transmedia marketing and should be used that way. Simply, transmedia means to transport a story or message into a customer’s everyday life, through the use of multiple media platforms.
Placing this together with influencer marketing has become a dynamic way to get your message in front of the right audience.
The Viral Gold Formula
Writer and analyst Kevin Allocca works with YouTube trends. He tracks viral content and connects that content within the so called ‘viral planets’ of YouTube’s universe. In doing so, he discovered a pretty simple formula for viral marketing.
Tastemakers [influencers] + Community Remixing + the Unexpected = Viral Gold
To break down this formula, let’s examine each part:
Tastemakers (or recognized influencers) are mostly celebrities, talk show hosts, news anchors, thought leaders and politicians.
Community remixing refers to fans on various media outlets that remix influencer content. They might do this by tweaking, adding music, altering images, shortening content, or splicing together separate content that is related. This remixing breathes new life into the content and causes it to be shared again and again.
The Unexpected means the content has some level of irony or some twist; like a Dorky Rapper. Those two terms ‘dorky’ and ‘rapper’ seem to be at odds with each other: enter Drake and Hotline Bling. If we were to unpack how this meme-able influencer embraced community remixing, it would look a lot like the inevitable shift from storytelling to storymaking.
The gold comes in when storymaking happens. Storymaking invites fan participation, decentralizes structure, and creates unpredictability. It goes further, and thus is of even more benefit to the marketer by also incentivizing the customer as both a consumer and producer, a prosumer.
This style of marketing encourages fan pages and real time hashtag conversations with influencers. And within the post-broadcast era, we have a new platform: an audience that itself has influence because even the audience has an audience.
What does transmedia marketing and storymaking look like?
Data also shows that 91 percent of viewers and customers feel compelled to participate when campaigns happen in real time. Jay Z and the four week, crowd sourced, Decoded treasure hunt illustrates this and it also illustrates a form of ‘east coast’ transmedia marketing. His project put Decoded on the NYT bestsellers list for more than 19 weeks. Furthermore, search engine Bing partnered with them, causing an increase in their traffic by the millions, landing them as one of the top10 most visited sites during the campaign.
Why does transmedia marketing and storymaking work so well?
Another element of the Decoded campaign was the use of social triggers. Social triggering, in a transmedia context, relates to the immersive marketing. An effective social trigger makes a message part of the fabric of our everyday lives. Organic social triggering dials up influencer engagement and drives search visibility. This influences rich media content like owned media and paid media, and ultimately becomes extremely relevant content.
When influencers promote your product, it kick starts an inbound cycle. An inbound loop is what you want, as it naturally brings customers to you, rather than you trying to find them. Consumers will naturally gravitate toward products and services that are promoted by influencers they already listen to. This form of marketing avoids the traditional outbound billboard type ads that aren’t very effective, and frankly, most people find annoying. It also continues to promote your brand through more trustworthy channels like friends and organic search queries.
This Is The Future of Marketing
Marketing is all about conversion through conversation. But the focus is no longer on brands talking at the world. Rather, it’s about listening to what the world is already talking about, and becoming part of that conversation, as well as facilitating further conversation. Transmedia and influencer marketing engages with this conversation at every consumer and prosumer touch point.
Dr. Chester Branch is a best selling author and Transmedia Architect, teaching transmedia courses internationally. He studied digital and social media marketing at Inbound2014. His dissertation, Transmedia Education, was presented during the 2014 TranXmedia conference at the Hong Kong Design Institute.