What we can learn from Alec Baldwin

The following is a post from Mike Faley, TIG Global Web Marketing Analyst.

Alec Baldwin has received widespread criticism because of his recent Twitter-rant, following ejection from an American Airlines flight in which he refused to stop playing the popular mobile app and relationship-ruiner Words With Friends. The 30 Rock star has since deleted his Twitter account and taken to Huffington Post – not to apologize to American Airlines or the flight attendant he has since described as a “1950’s gym teacher” – but to the passengers of the flight held up by the snafu.

By most measurements, this is a regrettable incident for Mr. Baldwin, American Airlines, and especially the 1950’s gym teacher. However, beyond the celebrity gossip drama, we have just witnessed an example of audience conversion and brand building.

Individuals hoping to utilize Twitter to market their products often feel constrained by the concept of micro-blogging and conveying a complete message in short-form. Broadcasting to a wide audience is great, but what good is it if I can’t get the message across and convert them to true customers?

Words With Friends-gate began with a single Tweet from Mr. Baldwin announcing he had been ejected from the flight. After word got around that this had occurred, interested users knew the newest developments could be found from his, and only his, official Twitter account. Shortly thereafter Mr. Baldwin announced he would be shutting down his Twitter account, and the following day submitted a blog post on Huffington Post. This time, Alec was afforded an unlimited amount of characters to tell his story – and his blog posts were the freshest source of information.

Let’s assume at least a portion of Mr. Baldwin’s massive Twitter following has an interest in the developments regarding the American Airlines brouhaha. After following the story intently for a few hours, these individuals will be met with “account deactivated” when attempting to find out the latest developments. After typing in a few related keywords into Google, these same individuals will find themselves reading a 600 word account – and rebuttal – of the incident. It is fair to assume at least some of those individuals will make Alec Baldwin’s Huffington Post account part of their regular reading, now that his Twitter account has gone the way of the dodo.

In sprinkling bread crumbs of interesting topics leading to a longer-form, increasingly engaging format, Alec Baldwin successfully converted a portion of his Twitter following to highly engaged customers. Gone are the days when Mr. Baldwin can only communicate with his base using short, low-engagement bursts – now, fans can share his blog posts on other social networking sites, participate in a discussion forum, view video and pictures and more.

The lesson here is not to kick up dust and hope for the best – it is to use each platform effectively. If the message you wish to convey is simply too complex to fit into the constraints of 140 characters, don’t try. Help those individuals find their way to a more effective method of communication. An easy example is a new package that a hotel wishes to promote. Unless it is simply a fancy new low rate, chances are an individual is going to have to do a bit of reading to understand just what the package offers. If the goal is to convert customers over to a full-scale website, don’t be afraid to be creative and think up interesting ways to accomplish that goal. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer – would you click a random hyperlink with text that said “check out our website”?

Consider your product first and the platform second. Do not try to squeeze a square peg into a round hole – if the message is not a good fit for the platform, work to convert interest to a channel where the product can truly shine.

Interested in ramping up your online strategy? Check out the full suite of TIG Global interactive marketing tools, send us an email, or give us a call +1 301.841.4700(US) | +44 (0)20 3004 9468(UK).

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