How The Chameleon Effect Can Boost Your Social Media Succes

ChrisSyme
Chris Syme Owner/Partner, CKSyme Media Group

Posted on January 21st 2014

How The Chameleon Effect Can Boost Your Social Media Succes

Every once in a while you run across a spectacular social media idea only to find that it was hatched in a sector completely different from your own. You may be small business and the case study is about health care. Instead of passing it by, you can apply a few simple tactics that can transfer that ingenious idea to your brand.

Remember that little lizard called a chameleon—I had one as a kid. The cool thing about the chameleon is that it changes colors depending on its surroundings. Put him on a blade of grass and he turns green. Put him on a branch and he turns brown. That’s exactly what you need to do with social media content when you run across something that makes you say, “I wish we could do that.”

In order to be a chameleon, you need to identify some key principles about what you’re trying to copy from a different sector:

1. What is the purpose of this campaign/tactic?

2. What are the main benefits to the fans?

3. What elements are involved that would work in any sector?

Case In Point: The Rock Church #TrustIs campaign – San Diego, California

The Rock Church is a large non-denominational church in San Diego, California. Their social media is just as rockin’ as their music. They started out the month of January with a series of Sunday messages called “Trust Is.” In their lobby, there is a bigger than life hashtag (see below) next to a backdrop with various versions of the hashtag #TrustIs. Every week, church goers are encouraged to take pictures next to the hashtag and tweet their reflection on the trust question of the week using the hashtag. The tweets run on a big screen in their auditorium before the services start in addition to being aggregated on Twitter as a resource for the campaign. 

Be the Chameleon:

1. What is the purpose of this campaign/tactic?

The purpose of this campaign is to provide useful information that will help fans live a better life. Much like a product recommendation from a brand ambassador, the hashtag campaign offers a review of sorts that helps readers engage with the campaign’s message. When you offer solutions to common problems that people have, you build engagement/loyalty. When you strip away the sector influence of the campaign (in this case a church), and insert your own sector, you find you can easily transfer this idea to events of any kind. If you’ve got an event or campaign that uses a hashtag, this is a great way to get fans to engage, whether they are at the venue or not.

2. What are the main benefits to the fans?

Information that helps them solve a problem, creates interest in the campaign, and gives brand ambassadors a chance to share their affinity. 

3. What elements are involved that would work in any sector?

Hashtags are popular everywhere—especially at events. If you’re a sports team for instance, what a cool way to have fans take pictures at the venue (maybe with the mascot). If you’re incorporating Tagboard or another in-venue social stream, this can boost your engagement at the game which ultimately sells more tickets.

Case In Point: The Rock Church Miles a Minute app – San Diego, California

The Rock Church has also developed an in-depth mobile app with one particular purpose: it’s a tool for their regulars to share with other people. The content is short and universal, aimed at introducing users to the church, the pastor, and giving nuggets of helpful information about tackling life challenges. The winning feature is that each story is only a minute long. The pastor, Miles McPherson, is good on camera and a good speaker. He produces most of the “minutes” himself with a phone at various locations around San Diego or on his travels—each one is a story. The app has a YouTube channel in addition to being on phones and devices. You can click on the graphic below to see the YouTube channel.

Be the Chameleon:

1. What is the purpose of this campaign/tactic?

The app is a tool to help brand ambassadors share the brand with non-fans by giving useful lifestyle information. Each 60-second message is a parable of sorts with lots of links on the app to entry-level information about the brand.

2. What are the main benefits to the fans?

Thought provoking ideas to help people live a better lifestyle, and be introduced to the brand through short stories.

3. What elements are involved that would work in any sector?

Stories. Problem-solving information. Interesting facts and trivia that get users thinking about the brand. This isn’t just some guy sitting at a desk telling you “come to the game” or “buy our stuff.” Its useful, and many times humorous, information draws non-fans into a relationship with the brand. Also included in the app is a wealth of information for users. But the interface is not clunky or overwhelming. Very good design.

Next time you run across a social media idea from a different sector, don’t write it off. Learn from it. If you can adopt a chameleon mindset, you can apply any great social media idea to your brand, no matter who you are, how big you are, or what resources you have. Tell us how you've used the Chameleon Effect. 

ChrisSyme

Chris Syme

Owner/Partner, CKSyme Media Group

Chris Syme's latest book, Practice Safe Social, is a leading resource on how to use social media responsibly. Her agency, CKSyme Media Group specializes in crisis and reputation communications, training, and social media services. See her website at www.cksyme.com. Follow her on Twitter @cksyme

 

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Comments

The San Diego church was brilliant for using this method. Social media is being used by so many businesses, brands, and organizations and are overwhelming consumers whenever they log in. This church is being, not only completely selfless, but also non-intrusive yet easily accessible. The way to use the chameleon method is to show the consumer what they are all about in a quick, informational way. The sixty second app is the farthest thing from demanding and benefits the user without them having to give up any time. It keeps the consumer coming back for more as opposed to putting the app in the users face,