Category Archives: Twitter

‘How This Famous Oscar Photobomb Defines Twitter for Marketers’

Ellen's famous Oscar selfie

“Last Sunday, Oscar host Ellen Degeneres broke Twitter with the most epic of all selfies. The picture was retweeted more than 1.3 million times in less than an hour, breaking President Obama’s 2012 victory photo which had 780,000 retweets. The star-studded photo included famous actors like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence, (half of) Jared Leto, Channing Tatum, Kevin Spacey, Lupita Nyong’o and surprisingly, Lupita Nyong’o’s non-celebrity brother, Peter. The media was ablaze shortly, calling attention to Peter’s photobomb. What Peter did in this opportunistic moment happens thousands of time each day on Twitter, as the “normals” interact directly and in conversation with the celebrities of their field. That’s the power of Twitter and marketers can take a lesson.

The Shared Experience

Ellen’s tweet created a shared experience with millions of people around the world. Like Peter, we felt we were participating in history because we were doing this together, even if most of us have never met one another, let alone Brad Pitt. Famed media analyst, Brian Solis spoke about the phenomenon of the shared experience in an early 2013 interview:

Shared experiences form an influence loop that is connected to each moment of truth. It’s what people find that guides them. It takes more than Google now. People are talking and connecting. Experiences are shared in tweets, posts, videos and reviews. You’ve optimized search, your website, your mobile app, but you haven’t optimized for shared experiences. Shared experiences affect customer impressions and next steps in each moment of truth. Shift from impressions to expressions.”

Do Us a Flavor

Marketers can leverage this concept by creating opportunities for fans from around the world to participate together. For example, recently Lay’s Potato Chips crowd-sourced a Do Us a Flavor, contest to determine the next flavor of Lay’s Chips. Nearly 3.8 million submissions were created in 2013 and more than a million votes were cast to select Cheesy Garlic Bread as the winner. This not only engaged millions of Lay’s fans together, it also generated hundreds of marketable assets and press (and one tasty bag of chips).

ShareBloc recently attempted a similar tactic, creating a contest to determine the Top 50 Content Marketing Posts of 2013. In our first two weeks of our company’s launch, we saw more than 600 people vote more than 7,000 times to determine the winner. We’re planning a similar contest in March for the Marketo The Marketing Nation Summit so go to on March 11 for more information. The winner of the contest will get a FREE ticket to The Marketing Nation Summit on April 7-9.

Ask Your Audience to Share

When Ellen boldly asked the audience for her tweet to break the retweet record, fans around the world complied. Ellen asked people to share so we did. Hubspot’s social media scientist, Dan Zarrella,studied 2.7 million tweets and found asking your followers seven simple but powerful call-to-actions on Twitter materially increased the reweet-per-follower ratio. Asking your followers to “please help” was by far the most effective, showing a 160% increase from the average. Famed marketer Jeff Bullas suggests three additional calls to action in addition to a retweet: Ask for a download, Ask for a follow and Ask for a reply.

Retweets-per-follower by call-to-action from HubSpot

We employ a similar strategy at ShareBloc. We tweet twice a day the top posts from @ShareBloc, most of which are the best posts on social media, content marketing, SEO and technology. This garners dozens of favorites and retweets from different accounts each week, most of whom we suspect are automated. We track to see if any new accounts engage with us on Twitter and ask them to join ShareBloc with calls to action like “don’t forget to join” or “check out ShareBloc”. So far, the engagement percentage is encouraging with more than 10% of our conversations clicking through the link.

We are all Peter Nyong’o Now

When Peter Nyong’o photobombed Ellen’s selfie, it was not dissimilar from when fans insert themselves into a conversation between two known celebrities. For example, Arby’s famously tweeted at musician Pharrell Williams during the Grammys about his now infamous mountain hat. Thousands engaged with the celebrity and fast food franchise.

Arbys and Pharrell Williams

Twitter is also the ideal medium for reaching directly to your user base. While some personalities havegotten in trouble with this type of outreach, often times it can create engagement and new marketing assets. For example, Taco Bell’s twitter account is famous for its fun attitude and timely retweets. They’ve recently run a campaign for their breakfast menu with the hashtag #TacoBellBreakfast and have gotten even celebrities like Ashton Kutcher to participate.

At ShareBloc, we encourage a dialogue with our users on Twitter. Oftentimes, we’ll tweet at the author or the person who posted a top content post to let me know they’re reaching our Twitter following (not a lot for now) and our registered users (a lot more). Here’s a recent example of our interaction with SEO expert, Brian Dean of Backlinko.

@Backlinko @ShareBloc Twitter discussion

If you’d like to insert yourself into Ellen’s selfie, here’s a website that lets you do that. Also, don’t forget to check out on March 11 for more information. The winner of the contest will get a FREE ticket to The Marketing Nation Summit on April 7-9.”

By: David Cheng

(I’m CEO and co-founder of ShareBloc. ShareBloc is building a community of like-minded professionals who share, curate and discuss business content that matters to them.

In my prior lives, I worked in investment banking, venture capital, and ran the online research platform for the leading cleantech market research firm.)


Dr. Seuss Inspired Guide to Twitter



Authored by: Evan LePage

Evan is a Social Content Writer for HootSuite. He writes features, news items, releases and all things HootSuite.