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Seventy-year-old men aren’t typically the kind of people you would expect to be enthusiastic Tumblr users, but then most 70-year-olds don't have the same marketing nous as The Rolling Stones.

The world’s biggest rock band announced new tour dates in the US and London’s Hyde Park yesterday following a week-long teaser campaign across Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.

The campaign centred around the hashtag #StartMeUpWednesday and the band’s official social channels posted numerous images of billboards across the US that included lyrics from their best-known songs.

GRRegory, the band’s new gorilla mascot, also made vague comments on Twitter about the fact that “something’s coming”.

But was the campaign a success? To find out I asked social communications agency 1000heads to monitor conversations on Twitter that used the official hashtag in the run up to the big announcement.

The results show that in the six-days leading up to the big reveal the hashtag #StartMeUpWednesday was used 9,000 times by almost 5,000 unique users, with around two-thirds of these mentions (65%) taking place during the immediate build up to the announcement.

When the tour was finally revealed there were more than 1,800 uses of the hashtag in a single hour, which would account for fewer than 1% of the band’s 332,434 Twitter followers.

Obviously this fails to take into account people that tweeted about the tour without using #StartMeUpWednesday, but for the purposes of this post I’m really just focusing on the use of the hashtag.

Overall though, the data from 1000heads shows that as of this morning the #StartMeUpWednesday Twitter campaign had made an estimated 28.6 million impressions on Twitter from the 8,989 mentions created by 4,929 unique users of the site.

Furthermore:

  • 74% of these tweets were retweets of existing content, primarily relaying details about the tour and information concerning the timings of the announcement itself.
  • 23% of the hashtag’s use was seen in regular tweets, and 3% were direct @replies to other users.

1000heads also examined the demographics of the audience that been taking part in these conversations. 

The most popular words used by tweeters who engaged with #StartMeUpWednesday show that these people are a broad mix of husbands, fathers, students, writers and musicians, but they all mostly professed to a shared love of rock music, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, blues, sports, radio and the guitar.

In conclusion...

It’s quite difficult to deduce whether the campaign was a roaring success or a damp squib as there’s nothing to really benchmark it against.

Also, it’s likely that the tour would sell out even if Mick Jagger just tweeted a picture of himself in a bath full of Moët alongside a sign saying, “I need more cash. We’re doing more gigs,” and a link to Ticketmaster.

But looking purely at the numbers, the campaign achieved a decent amount of mentions in the build up to and immediately after the announcement, and a potential reach of 28.6 million impressions is not to be sniffed at.

Last year a PR stunt for the film Prometheus only reached 15m Twitter users, and that was supported by press ads and a three-minute TV commercial.

The Prometheus campaign also had different objectives – people already knew about the film so the aim was really to build interest in the run up to the release date.

In contrast, The Rolling Stones used social to build anticipation around an unknown announcement and then amplify the news when it was revealed. 

The chart showing how often the hashtag was used clearly shows that it achieved this aim, and the fact that usage quickly died away is largely irrelevant as the goal was presumably to maximise the initial impact.

Finally, judging by the word cloud it seems that the #StartMeUpWednesday hashtag was mainly used by people that are already fans of the band, so the campaign was successful in turning these people into advocates and encouraging them to pass on their excitement about the announcement to their followers.

Overall then, I feel it was a well coordinated campaign that serves as a useful case study for how to build excitement and awareness around a big announcement.

Here's some classic Stones to finish with. Sadly, they won't be this good at Hyde Park...

David Moth

Published 4 April, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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