Love it or hate it, the X Factor has taken to our screens again and the hype around the show is even bigger than ever.  From now until Christmas, the British public (willingly or forced) eat, sleep and breathe the X Factor as it not only dominates our TV screens, radios, print press, but now social media has ensured that it dominates our lives (and Twitter feeds)!

For those of you that still doubt or question the power of social media, then look at how it managed to defeat the music mogul himself, Simon Cowell. Last year’s internet campaign (dubbed ‘Rage Against the X Factor’) to get Rage Against the Machine to the Christmas number one in Britain was described as a protest against the X Factor monotony and an attempt to break Mr. Cowell’s hold on the pop charts. What started out as a Facebook group rapidly became an online sensation and eventually gathered enough support to successfully install the US rock band’s 1992 hit into the number one spot.

This year, longhaired lothario Wagner is being primed to rocket to the top of the charts due to another internet campaign run by the same group that last year ruined Joe McElderrys hopes of topping the charts.

These campaigns show just how influential social media can be in spreading your message to the masses. There are lessons that can be learned from these campaigns and applied to a business’s marketing strategy:

1.     Make your content interesting and engaging – word of mouth is one of the most effective methods of distribution, so encourage your message to be passed onto the masses.

2.     Timing of your social media campaign is absolutely crucial – Christmas can be a slow news time for most, but the Rage Against the X Factor and the Wagner campaigns began at just the right time for the story to gather momentum. Look at the big news stories of the day and identify any issues that are relevant to your campaign. A good marketing campaign can make use of a national news story to maximise its own coverage.

3.     Be prepared for any unexpected developments – for example, during Eurostar’s spell of cancellations and delays, its social media strategy changed from being an online marketing tool, to a method of providing updates to its customers on the escalating chaos.

The power of social networking sites should not be underestimated when it comes to distributing content. The Rage Against the X Factor and Wagner campaigns started out as Facebook groups and then spread rapidly around the web as they attracted more and more members. Before long the campaigns extended onto other networking sites such as Twitter and MySpace. Ultimately the nature of these sites ensured that the campaign stretched not just across Britain, but right around the world.

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