Social Media Case Study with Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Park

Social Media Case Study with Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Park

Social media marketing is not really about wizards, but I do have an interesting story to tell you where wizards, and lots of other people, did benefit from this new way to market a business online.

The vice president of marketing at Universal Orlando Resorts had the responsibility of planning a marketing strategy to introduce the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Park there in Florida. She could have chosen any media form she desired, any marketing platform, with a potentially huge price tag attached.

What she chose to do was to tell 7 people about it. That’s right. She told the 7 most popular bloggers about it, and she told them on a secret midnight webcast that she ran. She invited those 7 bloggers and introduced them to the new theme park right on the webcast. Can you guess what happened next? No.. she didn’t get fired!

What happened was that people ‘talked’ about it. The 7 bloggers blogged about it right after the webcast. Lots of their followers blogged about it also, and talked about it with family and friends all over the world, and put it on all of their social sites where it would be spread by connections in those places. Main stream media follows those blogs and they wrote about it. Within 24 hours of telling 7 people, 350 million people heard about it. 350 MILLION people.

Initially, the vice president of marketing thought she might be fired given the reaction of her bosses who thought she should be doing television commercials, magazine advertisements, and telling the press. She wanted to tell 7 people and it turned out pretty well. This is a demonstration of ‘earning attention’ – getting people to talk about you, spread your ideas, tell your stories – as opposed to buying attention (advertising) or begging (public relations).

Now you may be thinking, I don’t have a business the size of Universal Orlando Resorts – most of us don’t. However, businesses of all sizes are using social media right now because – that is where the people are! And if you think about it, people – and attention – is what we are all looking for when we market a business or service.

The traditional ways of marketing are ‘buying’ and ‘begging’ that we mentioned, along with bugging (sales). The new way to market is to ‘earn’ attention – to ‘pull’ prospects and customers into your world instead of ‘pushing’ out a message (advertise).

Right now there is a buzz about social media. You may be participating already, or you may be still considering how to plug in. At some point, most businesses – national brands and local brands – will need to participate. Yellow pages and newspapers are not where the majority of people are looking for business information anymore.

One of the main differences in social media marketing vs. traditional marketing is cost. The low price tag of social media means that any size business can engage in marketing their product using this new platform. Time is the key with social media. A small business can choose to learn how to market with social media and do all the work themselves, or even pay for some consulting work or a social media guide and then go to work.

Larger businesses hire someone in-house to be their social media manager, or outsource the work to a service that specializes in social media marketing. Either way, the key is having an active system in place because just as the example above demonstrates, once you start putting the word out about your business – on a social website – someone is bound to comment or engage with you. It really isn’t ‘social’ to ignore a response that you will get.

Questions will need answered, comments will need addressed, and simply participating in the conversation will grow the social presence of the business. Social media can become very viral – quickly. If you incorporate real and creative marketing ideas and strategies that will educate, enlighten, or entertain your market, the same as you do with offline advertising, people will help you spread the word.

There really isn’t magic needed to ‘do’ social media marketing. The magic is what you will enjoy when you put forth the efforts, really engage with a community online and build an active website presence.

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