While students at Waterloo University in 2007, roommates Mo Adham and Adil Lalani had an idea to create a website that would allow them to share video quickly and easily with their friends. They saw an opportunity to take advantage of the convergence of social communications, mobile phones and video. In 2008, they founded Eatlime, Inc. and dedicated the company to helping users enrich their mobile experience by providing the highest quality audio and visual experience for online social interaction. In 2009, they released the TwitVid application and website which allowed the uploading and tweeting of videos faster than any other app or video website.
Mo and Adil brought in Julie Karbo in May 2009 to help launch and publicize TwitVid.com just weeks after the launch of the website. Twitter’s popularity was soaring and as a result many other mobile video services began to enter the space. Karbo knew that quickly establishing strategic differentiation and a brand beachhead was going to be the key to success.
The ultimate goal was to make TwitVid.com the premier mobile video application and tweeting service. Karbo aimed to increase media and blog awareness of TwitVid.com to help drive traffic, increase video uploads, increase celebrity use, and awareness about the important role video is playing in how we communicate with one another. Karbo also aimed to implement a thought leadership program to position TwitVid executives as experts in the mobile video space.
The mobile space was growing very quickly and an aggressive media approach was necessary to stay ahead of the competition. Immediately after developing a strategic messaging document, Karbo established five key PR strategies:
- Focus messaging on product benefits-the fastest and easiest way to incorporate video into Twitter, as well as overall video benefits-video on Twitter lets you increase the creativity, fun and excitement of your Tweets;
- Use partnerships with better known Twitter complementary applications to leverage their popularity and media presence;
- Use social media-blogs, Tweets, contests, Facebook fan bases and posts-as tools to increase awareness and ensure long term loyalty to the TwitVid app and service;
- Leverage the interest and the desire to do more via mobile applications, specifically for the iPhone and Blackberry. Also, leverage press interest in these devices and their App stores.
Karbo immediately began working on the launch of TwitVid.com’s iPhone and BlackBerry applications, announced partnerships and co-applications with the top Twitter apps, launched an aggressive social media campaign leveraging an iPhone giveaway contest, and regularly tweeted and sent DMs.
The Karbo and the agency were diligent about managing the @twitvid Twitter account, as well as the TwitVid Facebook page, and supported the use of TwitVid among celebrities via tweets promoting their videos; Follow Friday shout outs, developing custom pages for their videos (e.g., 30 Seconds to Mars, Britney Spears, Maroon 5) and direct communication with both users and partners. Karbo also encouraged TwitVid to begin a blog and become more engaged with their community of users on Facebook and Twitter via postings, tweets and Facebook interaction.
Prior to beginning the PR program, TwitVid had received little to no coverage in the press, and saw about 1 video upload every 15-20 minutes. In the first three months of this campaign, TwitVid received coverage in more than 50 major consumer and technology press outlets (not including syndication). TwitVid.com’s traffic has increased to over one million streams per day and over twelve million unique visitors per month. The site’s coverage has dramatically outstripped direct competitor’s coverage
The agency brought increased visibility to TwitVid through its dedication to differentiated messaging, aggressive press outreach, creative and sustained social media outreach and by executing major announcements, including the TwitterFon partnership ,iPhone Application Launch , 30 Seconds to Mars promotion, Brittney Spears Video Premier, and the BlackBerry Application Launch, all of which received coverage in top tier press, including:
a. Consumer: The New York Times, MTV.com, CNet, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, Billboard, The Associated Press, CBS News, MSN, NBC LA, and The Washington Post(63,832,622 Views/Month, 9,015,080 Views/Month and 62,525,672 Views/Month, 1,174,749 Views/Month, 613,448 Views/Month, 25,518,199 Views/Month, 2,432,709 Views/Month, 2,242,433 Views/Month, 7,528,012 Views/Month, 71,320,309 Views/Month, 488,866 Views/Month, 6,850,358 Views/Month)
b. Business: Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones (5,931,839 Views/Month, 3,197,237 Views/Month, 12,857,437 Views/Month, 25,164,839 Views/Month, 383,846 Views/Month)
c. Technology: PCWorld, ReadWriteWeb, Macworld and CIO(9,994,862 View/Month and 882,000 Views/Month,1,759,900 Views/Month, 353,898 Views/Month) TechCrunch and VentureBeat(8,548,495 Views/Month and 521,000 Views/Month)
Karbo also helped to negotiate CNN online talent’s behind the scenes use of TwitVid destination pages with daily on air mentions.
In November of 2010, TwitVid introduced Pro accounts. With TwitVid Pro users could customize their videos with a logo or border, add a custom button to link to their own site, get higher quality video, eliminate advertisements from their viewing experience, and receive faster video uploading and viewing. There was an opportunity to gain more exposure with the “Retweet-to-Play” feature. Before a video was viewed, users had to retweet to their followers in order to watch. Enhanced Analytics allowed users to see the details of engagement of their posted videos, such has how many times their video has been viewed and for how long. Celebrities such as Jay-Z and Kerri Hilson are taking the lead in customizing their TwitVid videos with Pro.
Another indication of the success of the PR program was the growing number of celebrities using TwitVid over the competition to communicate with their fans online. Major celebrities who started using TwitVid included, but were not limited to: Britney Spears, LeBron James, Justin Bieber, Ellen DeGeneres, Shaquille O’Neal, Willow Smith, Jay Z, Major League Baseball, Paramount Pictures, Maroon 5, Keri Hilson, Mary J Blige, Kim Kardashian, Ciara, Demi Moore, Kathy Griffin, The Jonas Brothers, Coldplay, Chris Daughtry, Reba McIntyre, Selena Gomez, Juanes, Wyclef, Nine Inch Nails, 30 Seconds to Mars, Tyler Florence, Fox Sports, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, The NBA, and The PGA. TwitVid features many of these celebrities and organizations on its homepage.
When the agency took control of TwitVid’s Twitter account, the company was averaging just a few tweets per month, and had less than 800 followers. @twitvid grew to over 409,000 followers and over a thousand “Likes” on Facebook within six months.
The agency also successfully executed a thought leadership program, secured speaking placements for the company at South by Southwest, Digital Hollywood Fall and CES.
The PR program executed by the agency took TwitVid from an unknown start-up to the acknowledged leader in an industry that consisted of competitors such as YouTube, yfrog, UStream and Qik. Twitvid’s leadership status was further solidified when Twitter announced a partnership with TwitVid which embeded TwitVids within Twitter Tweets.