If you’re reading this, it probably means you’re taking a break from playing the multi-platform breakout hit game Angry Birds. (I’ll try to keep this short so you can get back to beating Mine and Dine.)
Angry Birds, which was created by Rovio Mobile, was initially released for the iPhone in December 2009. Now, a year and a half later, Angry Birds is everywhere; iPads, iPods, android devices, PC browsers, Google Chrome, and even the PlayStation Portable. Wherever you are, there, too, are the birds. The game has been downloaded more than 250 million times.
There are several lessons social media marketers can learn from Angry Birds’ seemingly boundless success. Here are the five biggest:
1. Your campaign doesn’t have to be complex to be successful
Angry Birds is a simple concept. Launch the bird, hit the pigs. It’s an easy game to play, which means it’s an easy game to learn. Virtually anyone can pick it up and start playing in a matter of seconds, which makes it broadly appealing. When designing a far-reaching marketing strategy, keep in mind that simpler is often better.
2. A multi-platform strategy is key
Angry Birds’ multi-platform strategy gives the game an incredibly strong presence. It doesn’t matter if you’re an iPhone user or an EVO user, or even if you’re not a smartphone user—you can play Angry Birds. Think about the market you’re trying to reach. Some of your target audiences are addicted to Facebook. Others can’t go an hour without tweeting. Some are already devoted to Google+. Some are compulsive Foursquare users. Create a marketing strategy that crosses platforms and makes your product socially omni-present.
3. Always keep them wanting more
Rovio is a master of the tease. They’re constantly designing new levels, which means even after you master the version at hand, players have a reason to check back in a month later. Some of their game versions even tell you when the next level will be available. Consider this when forming your marketing strategy. You can go after the same audiences time and time again, or you can approach them once and let them come back to you on their own. The key is having something valuable to offer as an incentive when they do.
4. People love a challenge
One of the great things about Angry Birds is that it’s puzzling and challenging. Sure, I’ll eventually destroy all the green pigs in the level, and I’ll advance as far as I can go. But that’s not the end of the game, thanks to the three-star rating system. Once I’ve beaten the game as it currently exists, I can go back and try to get a full three stars at every level. And oh, how I try.
People like a good challenge. It keeps them engrossed and engaged. It gives them yet another reason to keep coming back for more. Your social media strategy should be similarly engaging and challenging. Why just tweet that your store is having a sale when you can put it in the form of a clever riddle, or a 140-character poem, or a clue in a social media scavenger hunt for details about the sale? Social media gives users the opportunity to be active in their communications with businesses rather than passive. Use it to your advantage.
5. It’s okay to cash in on success
Angry Birds is a video game. We all know this. But did you also know that you can buy an Angry Birds iPhone case? Or a plush green pig? How about a red bird lunchbox, or flip flops, or socks, or silk ties, or school kits?
When Angry Birds became a huge success, Rovio didn’t limit itself to a video game-only revenue stream. They opened the floodgates to a wide range of product production and licensing. Heck, there’s even an Angry Birds movie in the works. No joke. Look for it in 2014.
Your social campaign should be adaptable so that you can take advantage of its success. Look for other ways to benefit from your strategies. Will people buy a plush version of your mascot? Will people sign up to play a city-wide scavenger hunt following clues based on your marketing messages? Does a character you created for the campaign have a future with his own Twitter feed? Keep an open mind when it comes to further opportunities.
Oh! I almost forgot the most important lesson of all: People like to have fun. Take that to heart when planning your social media marketing strategies. People use programs like Facebook and Twitter to be socially entertained. So be like Rovio, and give them what they want.