When I took on Nightmares Fear Factory as a client in March of 2009 the goal, or since this is a case study, the “problem to solve”, was to strategize and execute a social media marketing campaign that would get people talking about this premier Niagara Falls attraction and increase traffic to the website. Clearly the ultimate goal was to increase revenue and have a solid ROI.
I’m happy to say that goal was achieved with almost 2 years of solid planning, strategy execution, creating relevant and compelling content, regular, ongoing search engine optimization (SEO) with every single piece of digital content including text, blogs, posts, images, video, etc and tweaking the SEO strategy at least every month. After that we just rinse, repeat, day in, day out for almost two years.
My team didn’t plan to go viral. We never even mentioned that word let alone thought we had a chance. We knew we had hilarious, unique, and remarkable content to share so we planned a strategy and executed tactics to hopefully get us there with a bit of luck. With my team we made sure we had all our digital pieces in place and by early October 2011 something happened that I’ll never forget in my life. By noon I was living every marketer’s dream. My client, Nightmares Fear Factory had just gone viral and that is just the beginning of the story.
Rather than rewrite what has already been written so well, for this case study I’d like to share a post from Elizabeth Monier-Williams who writes theanalyticeye.com. She and I spoke in October 2012 and she wrote an incredible piece detailing Five Key Takeaways from the campaign.
While I know this isn’t in true case study format, I think you will find it does a better job at giving you the inside scoop on the benefits your business can receive from the example of Nightmares Fear Factory’s digital strategy.
The post below was originally posted on theanalyticeye.com on October 19, 2011
5 Viral Takeaways from Nightmares Fear Factory
When Vee Popat arrived at work on Thursday, October 6, 2011, everything seemed normal. Near mid-day, he checked the analytics for the website and social media accounts he maintains as director of sales and marketing for Nightmares Fear Factory, a haunted house and tourist attraction located in Niagara Falls, Ontario:
Instead of the usual pattern of approximately 600 unique visits per day, his website traffic had doubled. Curious, Popat did some digging.
Over 700 visits had come from two referring sites in particular — first from Buzzfeed.com and then a message board. After lunch, another 1,500 hits arrived courtesy of Tumblr. Shortly after that, the media started calling.
By the end of the day, Nightmares Fear Factory had received 60,000 unique visits — a one-day increase of 10,000 per cent.
Popat watched the numbers climb, experiencing a certain degree of disbelief as his communications strategy achieved what many social media and marketing experts promise and few deliver.
Nightmares Fear Factory had just gone viral.
What Can We Learn? 5 Quick Takeaways
Last week, my brother did what thousands of people have done all over the world this October. He sent me a link to Nightmares Fear Factory’s Flickr stream, which features hilarious photographs of people touring the haunted house.
Most of the visitors, photographed by hidden cameras during the experience, are clearly losing their minds:
Since the Buzzfeed groundswell, Nightmare’s website, photos and social media pages have attracted worldwide coverage.
A quick glance through their Twitter feed provides an impressive media pedigree: the Toronto Star, ABC News, Good Morning America, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Canada AM, Digg.com, among others. They also got a shoutout on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Beyond the obvious appeal of funny photographs, what can this internet sensation teach communicators, marketers and social media strategists about creating a viral campaign?
I contacted Popat and we spoke about Nightmares’ social media strategy and how he optimized their content for global success.
This is going to be a lengthy post, so if you’ve only got a minute, here are five key points to take away from Nightmares Fear Factory’s example:
- Generate smart, cohesive content that builds your brand in core directions.
- Always use social media to engage your existing audience first.
- Look for piggy-back opportunities, but make sure your message is highly shareable.
- Be patient. Success is rarely overnight.
- Protect what makes you unique.
Otherwise, read on.
Read the rest of this fabulous and insightful post on theanalyticeye.com