X-Factor shows Online Social Media is for Social Online Brands

Today I had a moment of clarity about social media and why its more relevant for certain brands. The penny dropped with a loud clang when I was looking at the X-Factor* on facebook (yes, we're big fans in the Taylor household). The UK TV show's facebook page has a whopping 3.7million Likes

The clue is in the name. Online social media is most relevant if your brand is: 1) social, and 2) online.

* Reality TV programme with singers, similar to Idols in other markets


The X-Factor is SOCIAL

The X-Factor is a social brand. Its watched by groups of people. And its the sort of TV programme people have always talked about, well before facebook and Twitter. We want to talk about who's been kicked off the show and why, what the judges wore (Mrs Taylor's main focus) and who will win. Social media simply helps facilitate and amplify the shared experience and conversations.


The second key point is that the X-Factor is an entertainment brand. And research shows that the major reason for liking a facebook page is "fun". What's more, there is a stream of new news coming out daily about the brand that people want to keep up to date on.

The X-Factor is ONLINE

This is the killer point. Social media is not only a comms channel, its a revenue driver. The X-Factor generates revenue online by people buying iTunes tracks of the week's songs and the Xmas song, as you can see below on one of the contestant's facebook pages. Another revenue driver is encouraging mobile phone voting for who stays on the show.


So, what about your brand. Here are 3 questions you can ask. Give yourself a score for each, to see how relevant social media is for your brand:

1. Is your brand social: did people talk about your brand before social media existed? Is it a shared experience?: score out of 25

2. Is your brand entertaining: would people want to buy your brand's magazine or TV programme?: score out of 25

3. Is your brand online: how direct is the link from online media to brand purchase? Can I click or call to buy direct from social media, or is social media more of a comms channel?: score out of 50

I'd give X-Factor 95%.

What about your brand?

In an up-coming post, I'll look at the 10 biggest UK grocery brands' use of social media to explore the issue further.