On / by Alex Keen

So you want to make a splash on social media. You’ve got profiles on the major platforms with a couple of thousand followers and you get a handful of likes, comments and shares on each post you do. So far, so good. However, your reach isn’t really expanding and your content really isn’t engaging people outside your existing audience.

Sound familiar?

It gets even worse: you’re a small company, which means you have a limited marketing budget, so you really don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, and Facebook Boosts and promoted Tweets don’t offer the return they used to, but you can’t stop doing them for fear that your posts completely disappear from your followers’ newsfeeds, so instead you ration out a few pounds each day to get those views up, but when your boss asks what you’re actually doing it’s increasingly hard to explain why it’s so important…

The harsh reality of marketing has always been that the quality of your product or service might beat all the competitors, but unless you can get the attention of your target audience, you might as well not bother.

In the information age, attention is a currency and you’re not just competing with other brands in your industry, you’re competing with photos of babies, fail videos, group WhatsApp messages, Candy Crush — everything. That leads to another harsh reality: if you want attention, you can’t afford to be timid.

Rather than watching your marketing budget drain away, drip by drip on the weekly promoted post, you need to invest in creating the kind of attention-grabbing content which generates organic reach — people shouldn’t just enjoy it and move on, they should be thrilled by what they see and excited to share it with their own friends and followers. What’s more, the impact has to be lasting. You want to get people engaging on your social media posts on a regular basis, so their activity continues to promote the brand to everyone in their network.

At Sent Into Space, we specialise in the spectacular. Our flights drop jaws and can generate hundreds of thousands of views on social media. That’s a great starting point. The most media-savvy of our customers capitalise on that initial burst of attention by treating a space launch as the centrepiece of a wider ongoing marketing campaign. Let’s look at an example.

Jura Watches

Derbyshire-based company Jura Watches wanted to promote the fact that they were exclusive UK stockist of the new Seiko Astron, as well as show off the location of their upcoming Jewelry Design Centre for Excellence at Carsington Water in Ashbourne. They approached us to send a watch into space for one lucky fan of the brand to win. It’s a tasty prize, so we had to make the competitors work for it. We decided to launch the watch so it would land in a relatively remote area and obscure the location in the final minutes of the flight, creating a 10–15 mile search radius, turning the competition into a scavenger hunt.

We began planning the launch and the social media strategy to go with it about three months before we ever set foot in the field on launch day. Jura created a dedicated website for the project with a countdown to the launch window and teasing information about the project with the hashtag #timeinspace. We created an embedded map for the site, which would show the location of the watch throughout the site.

In the weeks leading up to the launch, Jura issued press releases about the project and drip-fed information on social media teasing the project, getting the word out in advance and ensuring interest in advance. Interested parties were encouraged to sign up for more information through their landing page, allowing Jura to capture valuable data about potential customers.

On the day of the launch, we broadcast live video footage from the launch site to people following on social media. Once the payload was in the air, we had an onboard camera sending back live images. Each update was sent out through the website first, then via social media channels, ensuring the truly dedicated were on the website throughout where Jura could also share information about the product and their services at will.

To ensure the competition wouldn’t be over minutes after the payload came down, we included a kill function on our primary tracking system, so that as the payload descended below 10km, the feed would cut out. Naturally, we had a secondary, secure tracking system onboard, so we knew where the payload was at all times. For the public, we released a landing area which they had to search.

In the days after the launch, we saw hundreds of people coming back to us for more information. We had people falsely claiming to have found the payload, teams coordinating search areas and sharing information, as well as endless flight path calculations, some very close, some wildly off course. Jura’s social media team were responding moment to moment, each interaction an opportunity to reinforce the brand voice and create a uniquely personal relationship with potential customers.

We recorded a number of additional short videos, showing simulated flight paths, explaining the launch process and discussing how the watch itself would cope with the strenuous conditions of space. By integrating the product marketing into the update video, we were able to seamlessly convert interest in the competition into a desire for the product.

To maintain excitement we slowly narrowed the search radius using our knowledge of the actual payload location, heightening the stakes. We actually had people booking time off work or calling in sick to search the countryside.

The careful combination of well-devised and efficiently executed social media strategy with phenomenal content turned a relatively routine prize giveaway into a media extravaganza which continued over two weeks and had a lasting positive impact on Jura’s social media presence. Beyond the cost of the initial launch, Jura had to spend almost nothing on getting their message in front of people’s eyes, because the content was interesting enough to stand on its own.

When the payload was finally found over a week after the launch day, Jura had seen more engagement than ever before and dramatically increased their social media following. The announcement of the competition’s end was the most liked update Jura had ever posted, nearly double the second most popular. Newspapers in three different counties had picked up the story from the press releases.

Jura Watches is just one of many clients we’ve helped to create a spectacular marketing campaign and it cost them less than you might think. We’re not just launch providers, we understand the marketing process. After all, how do you think we got started in the first place?

To find out about the other projects we’ve done and how we can help you to revitalise your social output, get in touch with us today. We’ve got some crazy ideas for attention-grabbing projects that we can’t wait to share!

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