I wonâ€™t lie.Â There are many sweet aspects to the gig here with Jason.Â (Not the least of which is getting to hang out with cool folks like Jake McKee.)
Being a geek, one of the more fun aspects for me is getting to test drive and evaluate new social media tools. Iâ€™ve gotten the opportunity to do that lately with two very different new applications: SMC2 by Techrigy, a social media monitoring tool, and Involver, a tool for creating and deploying interactive video widgets across Facebook and other social media sites.
Letâ€™s start with Involver. Iâ€™ll be covering SMC2 next week.
Jim and Rahim, two of the guys at Involver, contacted us after one of my â€œDiving Safely into Social Mediaâ€ posts. They let me take their platform for a cruise around Facebook, and I have to say, these guys really do have a rather nice solution going, assuming you’re interested in doing a viral video campaign on Facebook.
[Although, for some reason, every time I read their name, I hear Snow’s Informer playing in my head.Â Which is a little irritating because I never could understand a darn word of that song except “informer,” and now I hear it playing in my head and instead of “informer,” I hear “involver.”Â But that’s really not their fault, is it?Â Anyway, moving on.] Â Â
One of the beautiful things about web 2.0 is how much the peanut butter of advertising and the chocolate of PR get mashed together. If youâ€™re very lucky, thereâ€™s sometimes a crunchy layer of CRM thrown in there, too.
Well, Involver is made to create just such a tasty social media confection, deploy it across Facebook and other social sites, monitor its progress, and capture a database of engaged consumers. Does it work? Well, itâ€™s fairly new, but theyâ€™ve already got a nice case study for Serena software, and this campaign for indie film Outsourced! seems to be doing pretty well with 286,420 video views, as does their pilot campaign for grassroots financing company Kiva.
Itâ€™s not the right tool for every company or campaign, but if you or your client is considering doing a viral video or widget deployment, itâ€™s certainly worth your time to check out Involver. Here are some thoughts and observations:
- Itâ€™s video-centric, and yet isnâ€™t designed for the viewers to just passively watch the video content. They can just watch the video, but they can also do things like comment on it, answer a quiz or poll about it, or even purchase items or make donations, without leaving the site or the widget itself.
- There are moderation controls already in place for dealing with comments and other UGC, should you add that feature to your widget.
- The conversion and advertising message options include post roll and overlays.
- It doesnâ€™t require that you install the application to view the content on Facebook. Because frankly, everyone is pretty much burned out on installing apps on Facebook.
- The central hub of the campaign is its Facebook community page, and if your target audience is made up of Facebook addicts who are still jonesing for opportunities to poke, nudge and slap their way to the top of someoneâ€™s leaderboard, that may be of some value.
- The campaign monitoring tools have a fairly rich set of data covering multiple layers of engagement.
- Thereâ€™s also a CRM element, which allows you to upload and/or build your email database through the widget campaign, and send follow up communication with your most engaged viewers without leaving the platform.
- I get the impression that the default mode of deployment is through Facebook, but they also offer professional promotional plans where they negotiate premium placement for your widget on a variety of social sites. You can also deploy your widget via email.
- While you could shoot your own video, potentially lowering the cost of doing an Involver campaign, as with any â€œviralâ€ effort, the quality of your digital assets is going to affect your rate of success. It would probably still be worthwhile to get some professional creative help.
- That said, outside the video production, their simple self-serve interface aims to be as easy to use as AdWords, and it pretty much hits that mark. You wonâ€™t need programming or coding help to create and deploy a pretty nice widget on Involver.
Jim and Rahim, the two gents I spoke with, said their goal with Involver was to make video advertising accessible to nearly everyone, and in most respects, their product has achieved their mission.
I think video, podcast, and multimedia are going to continue to grow in popularity as technology allows different forms of social media communication to get more sophisticated. If you know about a useful tool for integrating video or other multimedia formats into social media, zip me a line at kfrench [at] doeanderson dot com. If I have time and think itâ€™s a tool with value, Iâ€™ll check it out and report it here.