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Top 5 Influencers on Twitter during SXSW 2016

We’ve been tracking #SXSW and @SXSW to find which brands rocked it best on Twitter during this year’s interactive festival. Below is the list of the top 5 brands that graced our Influencer board for reaping the the most ZPointsTM (a proprietary influencer discovery score) + quick analyses of what each influencer did to stand out among the nearly 300 exhibitors there.

5. CNN

CNN’s coverage of @POTUS’s activity at this year’s conference got the newsies buzzing on Twitter. Their top performing tweet announced President Obama’s plans to visit Austin the day that SXSW organizers confirmed this rumor to be true.


While the network’s established online popularity (CNN’s digital content earned 1.7 billion views across desktop and mobile in January – beating out second-place Yahoo News by 17%) had something to do with its social success over the weekend, the network best demonstrated the value of seizing the moment.

Recall 2013 when the network last tweeted from its @CNNSXSW handle – an experimental handle built specifically around SXSW. It seems that the network has ditched this strategy and moved onto another, whereby it is parsing out content at only the most pivotal moments relating to SXSW.

Track and measure key moments relating to your brand by activating Zoomph today.

4. Game of Thrones

Ah, clearly the Game of Thrones creatives know a good hashtag when they see one. The network’s top performing tweet capitalized on the hashtags #TheHallofFaces, #SXSW, and #SXSWesteros to direct traffic to their post.


In case you’re unfamiliar with the show, here’s the meaning behind those hashtags:

  • #TheHallofFaces references a secret chamber in the show that houses skinned faces of the dead. Spooky, yes – but clearly a great feature to play off at events like SXSW. The company recreated Hall of Faces at the conference and invited event goers to contribute a selfie to the wall.
  • #SXSWesteros references the name of a continent located in the Game of Thrones world. It also served as the name for the network’s location at SXSW – which sure had a way of charming visitors, including our CSO, Amir Zonozi who had to get a picture on the Iron Throne.


As we’ve seen on many occasions, hashtag analytics can instantly upgrade a brand’s game on social media. The right hashtags could mean more eyes on your posts (in other words, greater success for your event and/or digital campaigns).

3. Yokishi

Admittedly, he’s not a brand. If you’ve never heard of him, Yokishi is a Japanese songwriter and musician whose wildly successful rock group, X Japan, has sold 30 million singles and albums combined.

His top posts around SXSW appealed to an international fan base. And though we can’t quite tell you what his post in Japanese reads, we catch a glimmer of what cross promoting your social channels and engaging with your fans can do for your online reach.


Of course, it’s crucial to first know your fans – who they are, where they are, what they like—to effectively appeal to them. Yokishi tactfully exercises one touchpoint to his biggest fan base (Twitter) to attract engagement to a new channel (Reddit). Reddit specifically presented an opportunity for the artist to engage with existing and target fans, whom he prompted to ask him anything.

2. Suicide Squad

For a bold movie, Suicide Squad’s social posts were appropriately bold. Their top performing post encouraged fans to “get inked” at SXSW.


As evidenced here, harping on a casual, off-beat tone might do wonders for your social media popularity, if only it is appropriate for your brand. Though the Suicide Squad can away with using slogans like “What happens at #HarleysTattooParlor, doesn’t stay at Harley’s Tattoo Parlor,” your brand may not.

As previously noted, the first step to learning how to speak to your audience is discovering their general makeup (e.g., their geography, generation, and affinities). Then, your brand can define a clear online persona that guides the voice and tone of all its content.

1. Esurance

Since the start of SXSW, Esurance swept the competition clean on the leaderboard. We traced it back to to its #esurancesweeps campaign pre-SXSW, and #essuranceaccess sweeps during the festival.


Among the most coveted prizes: a Samsung 4K TV and a Mazda CX 3.

The lesson: not only will offering a free car bode well with social audiences, but assuming a “social first” mentality will launch your team to new heights while planning for events. Despite the organically unpredictable nature of social media, your brand can harness the power of social media analytics and A/B testing to manage your channels, and to make the most of the days leading up to your event. By starting strong, you can end strong and ensure that your event resonates deeply with your audiences.

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