A Social Media Tale: How to Become Famous Online in One Week

Unfortunately there’s no ‘go viral’ button. So, you’ve come up with a great idea and now you want to share it with the world? If ONLY you could upload that content and click ‘go viral’ and watch the YouTube view counts and re-Tweets rise. But sadly that’s not the case. In fact the difference between obscurity and Online stardom can often be down to a PR mistake, a random Stumble Upon or the interest of a celeb flicking through their Twitter stream and deciding you piqued their interest.

But how, EXACTLY does that happen? What can you do to get noticed?

I’ll let you know when I’ve finished my ethnography in a few weeks time. But for now I’m taking notes from @BestRoomyEver.

Here’s a little tale of a 20-something guy called Wade Cothram. Last week no one knew his name. He was a guy that lived in Alabama, and no doubt, like us all, dreamed about making it big. Somehow.

So here’s what happened. Wade got a job offer in San Francisco. He needed to find somewhere to live once he arrived. Not wanting to (I imagine) pay a hideous sum of money to stay in a hotel while room hunting, nor slum it with 8 others in a hostel dorm room while doing a 50 hour work week, Wade put a clean cut version of himself on Craigslist. Then…radio silence.

It’s so hard to know what people are looking for Online. So with the time counting down, he decided to take a new, radical approach and re-edited his personal Craigslist ad. Working in Marketing himself, he realised to effectively penetrate the Online world he’d need to have a strong social strategy. So he set up a Twitter profile and Facebook account under the name ‘BestRoomyEver’. Ordinarily this may have been another waste of Online space, a Twitter and Facebook account with 3 followers. However, the nature of Social Media and an Online, Global audience means you never quite know who might take notice…

So Wade’s new Twitter and Facebook profile, matched with his revamped (and controversial) personal ad on Craigslist piqued the interest of high profile Twitter user Ashton Kutcher, who Tweeted @BestRoomyEver, an act which alerted many other Twitter users (over 13,000 to be exact) to follow Wade’s plight, propelling him to super Online stardom within just over a week.


The result? Quite a few people offered him a place in San Francisco. More people offered him a place to stay if he was every travelling through their city (check out the comments on his Facebook page). Apparently his job offer in San Francisco was rescinded, due to his penchant for profanity and seemingly obnoxious Craigslist profile (ironic in a way). But his brazen stunt led to several other job offers.

Here’s where the Brand Marketing tie comes in. In Wade’s personal ad he humorously mentioned he owns almost nothing, except a laptop and condoms amongst a few other nonsensical items named. This alerted the interest of Marketing giants and Social Media savvy brand Durex who clearly saw it as an opportunity to leverage their Online conversation . Swiftly, they promised to send Wade some condoms and also offered to pay for a week’s accommodation in a swank hotel upon his arrival in San Fran.

durex replies to Wade Cothran

Wade has continued to milk his success, becoming quite the comedian, and posting funny one liners on Twitter such as:

If you want to check out the full version of his Craigslist post head here. Unfortunately the actual Craigslist one has now expired.

In social media we’re all obsessed with ROI. But I’m much more interested in how to get those people talking in the first place. The ROI will naturally follow; it’s a long term thing, not a short term thing, in case you were confused.
I wish you all the success in the world Wade..nice idea! Let’s see what you do with your stardom next. Was it a lucky strike..or the makings of a true Social Strategist?

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