Dancing Down the Aisles of Social Networking

You may have watched the video on YouTube or seen the couple on Good Morning America or The Today Show on Friday or Saturday morning. In case you missed it, check out the Heinz Wedding Processional: a charming video of a couple who wanted to make a memorable entrance to their wedding and also what’s become an exemplary example of the power of social media.

Here’s the timeline of events:

June 20 – The Heinz Wedding

July 19 – Pressured by friends and family who wanted to relive the great moment from the wedding, the couple joins YouTube and posts the video of their dancing wedding processional.

July 22 – One of my friends shares the link on Facebook.

July 23 – Minnesota news station publishes a story about this couple’s unique entrance. 4 more friends of my friends share the link on Facebook. This afternoon, celebrity Ashton Kutcher tweets the link to his almost 3 million followers on Twitter. The clip has nearly half a million views.

July 24 – The couple is interviewed on Good Morning America. That evening, their video has 2.29 million views.

July 25 – The YouTube clip has over 4.4 million views.

July 26 – The clip now has an incredible 6.7 million views. “Usually you have to force people to sit down and watch your wedding video, not the case here,” reported Minnesota Station WCCO, putting this impressive number into perspective.

So, the big question for me, someone working in marketing and trying every day to help clients achieve media goals, is how. How did this happen? What made this video so special? I’ve pondered that question and come up with the answer of ‘heart.’ This little 5 minute, 9 second clip has captured the hearts of every viewer with its honesty, humor, and love. No one in the group was a professional dancer, but each member of the wedding party boldly danced down the aisle because they love the couple whose wish this processional was. There are moments of the dance that are funny (when the ushers toss the programs in the air), moments that are awkward (do I look like that when I dance?), and moments that are touching (when the happy groom offers his arm to his lovely bride). But above all, every moment is true and real, and there lies the lesson for marketers.

Our audiences can see through a lie and are also now more social-network savvy than ever. Many brands want to or have already started Facebook Pages, which were designed for companies to create social relationships with consumers. But what to do with these pages becomes the next question: what content to post, what tone to use, should the page be given a personality? It’s been said that people want to be friends with other people, not brands, so then, what do you do, as a brand, to grow this relationship in a real way? In an article about putting a face on social networks, Social Media Today cautioned that “these Facebook pages will fail if they are not informative or entertaining, engaging and true to the brands they represent.” My own addition to that is “if they do not have heart.” See this article: “Why Big Brands Struggle With Social Media”, then follow it with “Presenting: 10 of the Smartest Big Brands in Social Media”. Use those 10 as a guideline in your company’s online presence. Make a vow to be original and true to your audience as well as the brand. Then perhaps, you, too, will dance down the aisle of social networking.

As a sidenote, a huge, unsuspecting benefit of the YouTube posting of the Heinz Wedding Dance was a huge rise in sales of the song to which they processed: Chris Brown’s “Forever.” I, like many others I imagine, watched the YouTube clip, had the catchy techno tune in my head and wanted to download it. Brown’s song, released in 2008, has quickly climbed iTunes Top 100 chart this week. As of Sunday afternoon is was the 6th most popular song downloaded on iTunes. I think Chris Brown owes this couple a nice wedding gift.

2 Comments

  1. meaghan

    Well said, Grace.

    And here’s an interesting update for your timeline: http://www.startribune.com/local/51746717.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU

  2. Grace

    Here’s another interesting link about this from YouTube’s standpoint.

    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/i-now-pronounce-you-monetized-youtube.html

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