Buzz Creation Techniques

In our previous post, Buzz, and Buzz Killers, we continued our series with a discussion on important aspects of buzz, and more importantly, how to kill your own buzz.  In this post, we take a look at techniques for creating buzz, and what you need to ante up to get started.

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Buzz Creation Techniques

Since we’re not writing this from our aforementioned island (in our previous post), you may take this section with a grain of salt. Buzz is like art: We know it when we see it, and most of us can’t create it. But here are some things to try.

The first thing you must do to create buzz is to find a promotional hook, something that grabs your community’s attention, like Godin’s purple cow. If you’re short on ideas, track the hottest conversations about your product category; ask opinion leaders in your community.

Once you have the hook, you need the story. Consider involving those you serve and get them to tell their stories. A kind of silly story, and some innovative combining of old and new media, drove one of the most buzz-worthy ad campaigns in recent memory: the Old Spice body wash “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign. It combined quirky, high-tech television commercials[1] featuring an attractive and cheeky former NFL wide receiver with deft use of social media to enhance the buzz.

In addition to heavy rotation of the ad on TV, Old Spice posted 186 highly-publicized personalized response videos[2] on YouTube, and they amassed an incredible 34 million views and a billion PR impressions in a single week. These videos responded directly to tweets about the product, including a hilarious “this has in no way been a cross-promotion for an affiliated Old Spice sister company” response to @Gillette.[3]

These videos helped make Old Spice, with 94 million views, the number 1 all-time most-viewed sponsored channel on YouTube.[4] In addition, Old Spice’s Twitter followers went up 3200 percent; Google searches rocketed up 2200 percent; Facebook interactions climbed by 800-1000 percent; and traffic to the Old Spice Website increased 350-500 percent. Old Spice became the number 1 branded body wash, and sales increased 55 percent, with some product variations as much as 1900 percent.[5]

This brilliant campaign shows how to synergistically combine old and new media to achieve dramatic results. Old Spice combined a well-done TV ad campaign with use of Twitter and YouTube to increase buzz.

To create buzz, you first have to grab your target audience, either by entertaining them, as Old Spice did, or appealing to their guts. That’s obviously easier said than done, and we can’t possibly give you the specific advice you need about how to do it without knowing your situation and your goals.

So in lieu of that, here are three buzz-creation techniques you can use to create your own buzz:

  • Create a microsite — a small Website, either part of your current site, or as a standalone — for the buzz campaign, and link to it from your home page. On the microsite, create a call to action that gets those attracted by the buzz to interact. Create reasons for them to give you their email addresses, blog addresses, Twitter handles, and other information.
  • Be sure to integrate the online promotion — posting on YouTube, Twitter, blogging, and so on — with rest of your marketing plan.
  • Appear and be spontaneous — Old Spice’s idea to respond directly to comments on Twitter was inspired. Notice they responded with the persona of the guy in the commercial rather than as a corporation. Here’s how their creative team accomplished this.

We had two full days of real-time—creatives, digital strategists, community managers, developers and editors all sitting in the same area at the same time….

We built a platform [that] allowed us to pull in comments from all over the Web. [. . .] These were prioritized by existing narrative, by some form of clout, and their creative potential—as they came in, the writers said, “I want to write to that.”

The creatives wrote the scripts. We sent those scripts to the teleprompter. Isaiah [The Man Your Man Could Smell Like] did shots, sometimes in a single take. Those were exported to editors, uploaded to YouTube, and then posted in Twitter…. All in under 15 minutes per spot.

Notice the emphasis on responsiveness, speed, and spontaneity.

Of course your budget may not permit the level of polish of the Old Spice campaign, but you certainly could use these tactics with dramatically fewer resources than Old Spice had at its disposal.

The Ante

If you’re going to create buzz, or if you’re just going to start to use social media effectively, there are certain things you should do first, some of which we’ve already mentioned. The ante includes:

  • Create or update your Website
  • Create microsites for significant specific events
  • Create landing pages for YouTube videos or people responding to your various social media promotions
  • Create a Google Profile
  • Create a LinkedIn company page
  • Create a Facebook page
  • Create a Twitter account
  • Create a YouTube channel
  • Create a blog
  • Join Plaxo
  • Invest in SEO

That’s quite a list, but you’re in luck. The next several chapters give you tips on how to set up your social media presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogging.

Buzz Creation Techniques is the 79th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 235. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances

Next up: Set Yourself Up on Social Media Sites

[1] A sample Old Spice commercial:

[2] A sample Old Spice response video:

[3] The non-cross-promotion:

[4] AdAge’s How Much Old Spice Body Wash Has the Old Spice Guy Sold?

[5] MediaBistro’s article The Old Spice Campaign, By the Numbers: