More often than not, social media is either based on individual socialites divulging large parts of their lives (yours truly is definitely guilty of this), or integrated marketing campaigns launched on behalf of brands. Neither is wrong, of course, but it was interesting to see Conan O’Brien make headlines recently as he launched a campaign to conquer LinkedIn and brought something new to the table we haven’t seen before on the professional social network. Late last month, Conan hosted a segment where he mentioned some pretty impressive stats:
- He has over two million fans on Facebook.
- Over nine million users follow him on Twitter.
- Four million fans have flocked to Google+ to follow him there as well.
However, there was one network that had evaded Conan: LinkedIn.
Shortly after airing this segment, sites such as Mashable and CNBC jumped at the opportunity to publish articles and push regular LinkedIn users to connect with Conan on LinkedIn. I even invited Conan to connect the day after and was surprised with the swift response: I became a connection within minutes.
Of course, I know Conan wasn’t sitting behind his computer approving everyone; rather, it’s likely that a member of his staff was in total control of the profile. However, his profile overview was classically Conan, with hilarious tidbits such as the following:
- Work Experience: Temporary consultant on the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.
- Work Experience: Lighting Designer at Applebees International.
- Under the test scores section, his blood pressure was listed at 120/80 (way to stay healthy!).
- Apparently Conan is also a certified minister of the Universal Life Church.
- Coursework included “Build Wealth the Trump Way”, and of course, the ever-popular follow up, “Build Wealth by Suing Donald Trump Over Failure to Build Wealth”.
- My personal favourite: under skills & expertise, Conan listed “blaming my father” and “pretending to listen” alongside Microsoft Excel, exhibiting an oddly productive yet emotionally disturbing background.
Fast forward a month later, and Conan had finally achieved his goal: he was granted status as a LinkedIn Influencer, a prestigious title bestowed upon the likes of President Barack Obama, Richard Branson, and Bill Gates, the last of whom Conan O’Brien jocularly referred to as a “total failure”.
His first publication, titled Hello, LinkedIn, had the punch of a typical Coco segment, full of humor, non sequiturs, and vainglorious ego boosting that has become prevalent on social media sites. The fun didn’t stop there, as many traditional LinkedIn users took umbrage over Conan’s over-the-top publication, calling him out on not using the site properly or for its intended use. My only response to those users is the following: seriously? This is Conan we’re talking about: if you’re following him or responding to one of his posts, then you should know better and not take him seriously. Save the effort on writing long-winded diatribes and just enjoy Conan’s brand of humor being presented in another medium other than television.
That said, this entire campaign proved to not only boost Conan’s Klout, but also proved to be an effective social media campaign. While everyone at TBS is playing this off as a wild and wacky segment, the underlying truth is that this created a buzz for Conan on a non-traditional social site that is rarely, if ever, connected to television shows. Of course, LinkedIn has been breaking down its barriers to become a more “social” social site, rather than being a B2B network for business professionals. However, it has never been leveraged in this fashion before, and probably even resulted in a couple of non-LinkedIn users to check out the site, resulting in some extra branding for the aforementioned social media giant.
TL;DR version of this post: Conan is awesome and this campaign is a classic example how creative campaigns on social media will always generate a significant buzz, no matter what type of brand (personal or business) is at the forefront.