Many of the DLD participants have moved on to Davos and concerns about the volatile financial markets. I am back home, but still thinking about social networks – social networks like, say, Davos and DLD, as well as Facebook and LinkedIn.
Tag: Social Media
“Building community.” It’s become a mantra. You can’t go a day of digitally deposited trade reading without gurus across the board - from HBR to Ad Age - opining on how brand building is linked to community building. The devil, of course, is in the details.
Ashton Kutcher is a figure I find so unsavory that it is difficult for me to see him as worthy of anything other than endorsing POS Clothing. He is the "dude" who stays at the party an hour too long, holding court and announcing his own coolness long after others have started to yawn. Image is hard to change. That said, the man is not stupid, and very well may be ahead of the pack in terms of social media and brand endorsements. His innovative partnership with Popchips, Inc. proves the point well enough. Kutcher built his fame on mild talent, good looks, and a variety of attention-grabbing stunts (whether via Punk'd or geriatric marriage). His cultural relevance, though, came through a carefully engineered drive to be the first person to have 1 million followers on Twitter (@aplusk now broadcasts in real-time to more than 5 million people). Mr. Kutcher saw what other stars -- and major brands -- have missed: that building an audience and managing a direct relationship with it is the way forward. Notably, his work with Popchips does not involve MadAve's services. It is the latest example in what I've written about as the the trend toward post-agency markets.
I’m 25-years-old, California-bred, a sports fanatic and a Nike brand advocate. Oh, and as an average American I have not played (or remotely cared about) soccer since I was 8. Nike has decided it is time to play. And it turns out the American company is really, really good at it. Last week the Wieden + Kennedy campaign Write The Future was released racking up 7.8 million first week views, breaking its own viral record.
I’m 28-years-old, born and raised just outside Amsterdam, a loyal Nike customer and very passionate about soccer. Some of my greatest memories in life revolve around a season, game or goal, so when I first saw this new Nike ad for the World Cup Soccer 2010 - described by the brand itself as one of their best ads ever - I got excited. This was about a global sporting event that makes my blood run faster.
We spend a lot of time with clients talking about different communication platforms, the best content for each and the approaches that certain media demand versus others. Trying, in other words, to help brands understand seamless communication paired with appropriate voice. But sometimes the best way to understand these different platforms is simply to experience them. I had a particularly elegant social media experience with Sonos recently that's worth sharing because it illustrates graceful, appropriate and effective use of a platform.
Now that we've pushed back from the Thanksgiving table and returned to work, it's worth focusing a moment not on our abundance of blessings, but on our glut of content across platforms. These blessings are decidedly mixed. Faced with multiple options we graze and gorge on empty calories, but rarely succeed in satisfying our hunger.
When I shot the picture of this little guy lounging in his highchair watching cartoons, I thought it was adorable. And admittedly, I still do. But simultaneously it terrifies me, because it foreshadows a new type of digital divide that will be created by mobile devices and the introduction of augmented reality.
Last year’s economic meltdown has shone a disproportionate light on the financial and automotive companies. The brands and institutions within these two industries have been scrambling to respond with clear, overarching agendas — green, consumer-centric vehicles in automotive, greater transparency (and regulation) in the financial sectors. While less in the spotlight in recent months, the food industry has been equally frenetic, but has not clearly articulated a larger agenda. Do the many microtrends, from local and organic to simple and safe, add up to something more substantial?
I have been a reluctant Twitterer for a while now (though, for the record, I am trying to be better about it). I do check my Twitter feed each day and am amazed by how much (and as often, how little) people can say in 140 characters. Certainly, we live in a culture of sound bites, but Twitter takes this to a whole new level. Amidst the thousands and thousands of grammatical crime scene tweets, shoot-from-the-hip happenings tweets, re-tweets, twitpic tweets and glorified email forward tweets are some real creative gems. It is these gems that keep me tuned in to the incessant stream of information and make the sifting through worth it.
Noam Cohen wrote in the New York Times this weekend -- Twitter on the Barricades -- analyzing the impact of Twitter on the events of the last several days in Iran. There is no question that Twitter has been influential in transmitting and spreading what is happening on the ground there. But focusing solely on the Twitter-effect misses the larger and more consequential communication story. Any one communication tool in a web of such tools does not act alone in producing tremendous social network effects. What is especially noteworthy in the information transfer that is occurring around the dramatic events in Iran is how utterly dispersed yet interwoven and mutually reinforcing the various expression and transmission outlets are -- both analog and digital.
There has been much talk lately of data overload. Of marketing noise and the struggle to attract and maintain consumer attention. A weekend outdoors with my toddler reminded me this isn’t a new problem, nor is our selective attention a new response. My daughter still notices every soaring airplane. Every buzzing hedge trimmer. Every distant siren. The sights and sounds I have learned, over time, to tune out as irrelevant. When faced with data glut in the marketplace, most consumers respond like me. That is to say, they don’t respond. So how do brands help consumers see their information through the eyes of a child?
LEGO made its first brick in 1958 and has been building ever since, but not without difficulty. Facing major competition from interactive electronics and computer games, the Danish company almost crumbled into bankruptcy in the late 1990’s. Then LEGO redesigned the brand blueprints, with a little help from its amateur architects.
The gloves are off (and the hand sanitizer, on). While the world searches for the latest facts and figures on the swine flu, some are singling out Twitter for drumming up global panic and spreading misinformation. Have the old media dinosaurs exposed a genetic flaw in the new social media species, or are they bellowing in vain as they sink deeper into the tar pit?
There should be no question about how little I cared for Andrew Keen’s last book. I found much of what he presented to be flawed, small-minded and grouchy. I also expressed the wisdom of crowds to select and correct content worth following. Let’s call that the power of the curator. So, I am especially happy to see that Keen has come around to a more enlightened (if not exactly Utopian) view, wherein not everyone with browser access is an idiot. He seems, now, to believe the common man is capable of discerning tripe from truffle, and having the good sense of choosing and following talent.
Ad Age released five new rules for marketing this week and invited emails for other “new rules.” At Patrick Davis Partners, we agree that these times demand new thinking by marketers. We even released our own thoughts about new priorities for a post-agency age last November. So with a nod to the “radical transparency” Ad Age cites, and a sense that one ought to practice what one preaches, we’re responding in an open letter instead of an email.
It would be a mistake to believe that social media is about technology. The underlying technology -- which will assuredly change -- is like the electricity running a factory: it enables certain functions, but is not the purpose of the place. Content drives social media. Why? Because content forms communities... and communities form markets.
The Viral Spiral—a fun way to look at some of the biggest viral spots since 2006—has been spiced up since its last appearance in 2011. You can filter by year, shares and sector; see synopses of the major themes in each year; and learn all sorts of sharing-related info-nuggets. As a nod to the year of prankvertising, Unruly also threw in an "infoprank," so don't worry if the NSA appears to be tracking you while you browse.
When Instagram announced that it would put ads in users' feeds, we knew there would be a backlash. And as reactions to some early ads show, the backlash is now well underway.
The changes to how Twitter displays images can make your tweets stand out. Here's how to boost your engagement one image at a time.
We all know employees can be both brand ambassadors and brand detractors. But what we haven’t wrapped our heads around is that they are also our most important co-branding opportunity.
Where are teenagers going instead? Not surprisingly, it’s mobile chat services like WeChat, and photo-sharing apps like Instagram and Snapchat.
Social-media content has grabbed the spotlight in the last few years, as marketers figure out how to engage consumers through tweets, posts and viral videos, but what of paid advertising? With Twitter's recent IPO, paid social-media advertising is back in focus.
Sound engineer Young Guru, who has worked on most of Jay Z’s albums, among many other projects, envisions using a telepresence headset like Google Glass as a solution. “I think collaboration is the main thing people are going to find interesting,” he says. “Seeing what others see, and being able to work hands-free.”
These 15 brands have solved the Tumblr riddle, and whether it's for news or fashion, entertainment or history, they're setting the bar high for brands on Tumblr.
How Do the Media Pros Binge on Content?
Usage Among Teens May Be Down, But Advertisers Are Unfazed.
But Marketers Are Stymied by Lack of Access and Limited Knowledge
Traditionally, SEO has focused on content, website architecture and linking. These areas of focus are still critical, but as social media gradually becomes more important for SEO, it’s also about identity, relationships and content.
It’s a common question: why bother to blog (or use other forms of social media) when it’s so hard to build a following, and you may toil in obscurity for years before finding an audience?
The basic function of marketing promotion has changed. It is no longer enough to simply grab attention, you need to be able to hold attention and that’s where social strategy comes in.
Consumers trust their friends, family and advocates far more than they trust banner and TV ads, and they’re more likely to make a purchase because of a recommendation than a billboard.
Monocle Eschews Social Media, Says It's No Worse Off Without It.
It’s a constant struggle for brands to make themselves be seen and heard above all the noise that’s out there, especially when their “prime” consumers have minimal attention spans and are far less forgiving of faulty, uninspired experiences with brands.
Despite Instagram’s massive following and its new video feature, many brands have committed to Vine.
While Twitter hashtags help drive exposure on the social network, new data shows that Facebook hashtags have the opposite effect.
Social media often make it a little too easy for good people to behave badly. When those good people are your customers or clients, those consequences can be excruciating and expensive.
You know your friends who are always first to tell you about some new social platform, who had already made a dozen Vine videos when you decided to give it a try? There are marketers like that too.
Social savviness boosts sales, SMBs say.
Digital technology has transformed our world, opening up and bringing the everyday to culture and heritage.
Owned by Twitter and launched in January, Vine is to short videos what Instagram is to snapshots: You shoot, edit, and share clips, all through a mobile app.
The comeback is bolstered by new interlinks that make it increasingly easy for websites to suck in and selectively repurpose some of the very social content that diminished the open web in the first place.
Social media has become an increasingly complex undertaking for large companies.
In the ongoing evolution of social media in 2012, people’s behavior in social and mobile matured to a point where the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning is check Facebook on their phone (some even sleep with their phones).
This means that brands are suddenly jumping into intense conversations with a real point of view, on issues that could be seen as quite controversial. All this for what feels like the first time ever!
Developers Seeks Sponsors by Touting Attraction's Technology, Social Media Potential
In the pre-digital days there really wasn’t a need for brands to produce more than the ads that went on traditional media. Now they need to produce an almost constant stream of fresh content to keep up with digital channels and social media.
If your company hasn’t learned to harness the power of the social media world yet, here’s one reason you should: According to Google, nearly 60 percent of people talk more online than they do in real life.
Despite the quest, earned media isn’t always a good thing. It works when the right people -- your brand advocates and satisfied customers -- are engaged in the three R’s: rating, reviewing and recommending your brand.
What do a publishing giant, a women's lingerie retailer, a kid-centric commerce subscription service and a nonprofit organization for the 50+ set have in common? They are all social businesses.
The Hidden Benefits of Social Media Marketing Why Your Strategy May Be Working Better Than You Think
If you’re feeling a bit skeptical about social media marketing and whether or not it’s worth the effort, following are some reasons why it may be working better than you realize.
You often hear of the lengthy approval processes required to get a campaign underway. That’s not always the case anymore.
Graphic breakdown from Pew by age, gender, race
Just in the United States, tens of millions of people are talking to each other as they watch TV.
Businesses need to get a better handle on the reality that underlies their messages, because social media are more interested in your supply chain than how you brand it. You should be, too.
Do you follow a brand in social media? Are you glad you did?
The most common question B-to-B marketers ask me is: “How do I use social media to get more leads?” And the answer is:...
If your brand isn’t on Pinterest, you could be missing out on a growing stream of potential customers.
Pinterest has rolled out its first significant makeover since gaining popular attention in a move that sees it streamline the look of profile pages on the service.
It’s hard to ignore Pinterest‘s explosive growth over the past year. In a very short period of time, the social network has gone from relative obscurity to a top 100 site, with 11.7 million unique monthly U.S. visitors. But how many referrals does Pinterest generate?
In an interview with Hunch co-founder and investor Chris Dixon at SXSW today, it was remarkable how often the conversation hit upon ways that Pinterest bucked Silicon Valley’s conventional wisdom. And yet these days, the visual social curation service is one of the fastest growing and most influential of start-ups.
Have you heard of Pinterest? It’s a (relatively) new social site where users share — or “pin” – visual content. Brands such as GE, HGTV and Martha Stewart Living have made deft use of Pinterest already. As a marketer, you should be too.
Pinterest hasn’t just become a significant source of referral traffic for retailers; it’s also becoming a top traffic driver for women’s lifestyle, home decor and cooking magazines, some of which are seeing bigger referral numbers from the image-collecting service than from major portals like Facebook and Yahoo.
"People are 'Fancy-ing' what they like, forming communities around these products or experiences, and now we allow merchants and brands to come in and fill that interest and demand in real-time, which no one is doing," says founder Joseph Einhorn.
While some may pronounce that Facebook is all the social we’d ever need, users clearly haven’t gotten the memo. Instead, users are rapidly adopting new interest-based social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, Thumb, Foodspotting, and even the very new Fitocracy.
Jeremy Levine, who led Bessemer's investment, tells us about all the ways Pinterest can make money, why it's not thinking about that right now, and why the company is more like Google than you might imagine.
The 54th Annual Grammy Awards was a huge hit across social, digital and broadcast platforms. Excitement for the return of Adele, as well as the tribute to the late Whitney Houston kept viewers engaged online and off. CBS reported that 39.9 million viewers tuned in to Sunday’s award show, the second-largest Grammy audience ever and the best ratings since 1984.
Even if you haven’t ever visited popular visual bookmarking site Pinterest, you might recognize its design elements — which have been popping up everywhere since the startup burst onto the mainstream scene in 2011. The site doesn’t use traditional web building blocks.
Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use Pinterest to communicate through vibrant images and share their personal interests.
Of course, in the wrap up of every Super Bowl, the people want to get a taste of which commercials were the most popular. This morning Hulu released its list of winners, and it looks like nostalgia took the blue ribbon. Of the ads that ran during game time, Honda’s “Matthew’s Day Off” (a Ferris Bueller tribute) just narrowly edged out Volkswagen’s “The Dog Strikes Back,” with the “most liked” ad on Hulu AdZone being Volkswagen’s “The Bark Side” preview ad.
Discount voucher sites are all the rage. Groupon, Living Social and a host of other players are entering the mushrooming markdown market. This begs the question if discount sites are good news for brand value? In summary we don’t think so. It may be good for short term revenue spikes and potentially contribution margin boosts but not long term brand value. This is based on our experience with hotels, spas and restaurants to name a few. Let us share how we arrived at this position.
Facebook Inc., the social network that filed for an initial public offering yesterday, listed rivalry with Google Inc., regulatory scrutiny, hacker attacks and the shift to mobile technology among the risks it faces. Facebook’s competition with Google, Twitter Inc. and other social-networking providers could impede growth, the company said in the risk-factors section of its filing. Facebook also said it would face competition in China if it manages to gain access to that market, where it’s currently restricted.
To get a glimpse of what tomorrow's young global managers might be like as leaders, take a look at how today's young people think about communications.
While most companies are all over Facebook and Twitter, CMOs confess they are at sixes and sevens with their digital marketing strategy. The Boston Consulting Group reports that 77% aren’t sure where best to reach their customers, a critical component of any digital strategy. And 55% say they have only “minimal or informal metrics to measure the impact and return on investment of digital marketing efforts.”
Puma can’t yet legally discuss its Olympics marketing strategy, according to Remi Carlioz, the company’s head of digital marketing. But to get an idea of how Puma will promote its star athlete and three-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt, one need only turn to the Middle East. In mid-January, Puma sent 10 bloggers to Abu Dhabi to cover the company’s sponsored boat, Mar Mostro, as it competed in the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Puma has recruited bloggers to talk about the brand before, but this event marked the first time it tested Tumblr. (The bloggers were also encouraged to post to Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #marmostro.)
Google is taking Googling yourself to a whole new level, by folding users’ personal data into Google search results. The personalized search results pull data from users’ Google accounts such as Picasa and Google+, and offers users the option to toggle between searching their own personal data and searching the Web as a whole.
The differences between social media influencers and the online strategies of other groups are so marked that it is worth asking the question what do social media influencers do that the rest of us don’t? What can we learn from these differences?
It takes years to build a good reputation, but seconds to damage it beyond repair, as executives at companies from Dell to Domino’s certainly have found out. This was a sentiment echoed by executives at the Senior Corporate Communication Management Conference in New York when discussing social media and corporate reputation and how to embrace the new reality of immediate communications.
Since the American social psychologist, Stanley Milgram, conducted his famous ‘small world experiment’ in the 1960s, it has been commonly accepted that most people have six degrees of separation between them. However, a vast new study by Facebook’s data team and the University of Milan, which assessed the relationships between 721 million active users (more than 10 per cent of the global population) of the social network, has found that the average number of connections between people has dropped to four.
Our fifth annual survey on the way organizations use social tools and technologies finds that they continue to seep into many organizations, transforming business processes and raising performance.
Facebook is driven by a single, unique goal. Its priority isn’t to gain more users (it already has 750 million of those), nor does it feel compelled to find stupid ways to increase pageviews. Its primary goal right now isn’t to increase revenue, either — that will come later. No, Facebook’s goal is to become the social layer that supports, powers and connects every single piece of the web, no matter who or what it is or where it lives.
Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone have revealed their much-awaited next project since leaving Twitter and relaunching the Obvious Corporation, the incubator that they started with Twitter vp of product Jason Goldman back in the mid-2000s. On the official Obvious blog, Stone announced today that the company is partnering with Lift, a new app “designed to unlock human potential through positive reinforcement.”
While there are many theories for the underlying reasons for the the riots — social inequality, the economic crisis, gang culture, opportunism and the failings of capitalism to name a few — but there is little doubt that technology and social media were the great enablers of the rioters and the criminality that ensued.
Board members need to understand the factors that impact their businesses. Economics, politics, and sector shifts are all vital issues on the agenda in the boardroom. But the agenda needs to keep pace with what is influencing business, and amongst the things that board members need to fully appreciate is the growing influence and power of social media. It is not just about political uprisings any more.
There is a fundamental shift that social media necessitates in business today – the need to transition from “Me First” to “We First” thinking. For decades Me First thinking and behavior has dominated how we have conducted business, treated the environment, and how consumers and brands have interacted. Despite decades of short-term profits, the long-term consequences of this approach have been catastrophic. They include the economic meltdown of 2008, the global recession, and the persistent economic problems that plague countries and societies around the world today. As a result, there is a growing awareness that we must begin shifting business towards a more collective and socially responsible mentality in which companies and consumers think about building a better world as much as they think about profits. Given this, the question is, how can brands move towards this responsible and collective mentality? The answer is, by adopting We First thinking.
So Google+ obviously has some traction. Just a few weeks after its launch, Google CEO Larry Page revealed that the nascent social network already had 10 million users. But will it ultimately blow up enough -- and matter enough -- to become a problem for Facebook? Yeah, I think so. (Ad Age Managing Editor Ken Wheaton isn't so sure.) Here's why:
1. "Social media accounts for one out of every six minutes spent online in US." (Journalism.co.uk) 2. "Seventy-seven percent report that they use social media to share their love of a show; 65% use it as a platform to help save their favorite shows; and 35% use it to try to introduce new shows to their friends." (TVGuide.com study via TVNewsCheck.com) 3. "Facebook users are overall more trusting than non-internet others. Pew reported, 43% of survey participants were more likely than other internet users to feel that most people can be trusted." (Pew Internet via Social Media Club)
Recently I had a chance to catch up with Vic Gundotra, one of the chiefs behind Google’s new social networking service, Google+. I was interested in what Google+ means for our relationships online and off. We shape technology, but it also shapes us. As Google+ blossoms (and today Larry Page confirmed the site has over 10 million members sharing one billion items daily, even in its very limited trial phase) these themes merit mulling. Gundotra offered up lots of insight, and a glimpse into the future of a very different search experience.
I have been spending time on Google+ since its launch, and though people on Google+ are talking a lot about Google+ (isn't that breaking the first rule of fight club?) every day I begin to see its potential take it into different directions – not based upon the platform itself, but rather, based upon its interoperability with Google's other properties. Seamless YouTube video integration. Real-time photo sharing via Google Photos. Music library streaming via Google Music. Document sharing. Connections via Google Talk. Surely, more features will be rolled out over the coming weeks to millions of users still trying to figure out the purpose of the platform. And that's the beauty of platforms – the users get to figure out how they are ultimately used, and shape their evolution.
Let social media mavens debate whether Google+ will succeed as a 'Facebook killer' where Buzz did not. I think they'd benefit from a quick look back at a failed innovation Google quietly DNR'ed. It offers a sobering reality check for anyone who believes that great people, great skills, great wealth, a great brand, and a great opportunity invariably lead to great innovation, They don't. Not even for Google. There's a valuable lesson here.
The 2011 Pulitzer Prizes were announced recently, and I was thrilled to see that Nick Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains was a finalist in the general nonfiction category. I've known Nick for many years, and have become a fan of his writing and thinking. He's one of the world's most thoughtful observers of modern technology, bringing a well-stocked brain and a lively pen to his work.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has swung its bulk into the fast-changing world of social networks by acquiring a small California company that it will use to explore new ways of reaching shoppers digitally.
Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger Network, explains how his crowd-sourced websites stay agile and creative.
Much is being written about the impact that new communication technologies and channels (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) have on traditional marketing. The deeper question is: Will these new communication channels actually force material changes not just in the way companies market their products but in the strategies and operations they use to develop and build those products as well? In my view, the answer is an emphatic yes. It's another instance of the proverbial medium that changes the content.
Mobile and social channels are heating up. In fact, the second-annual Bazaarvoice Social Marketing Survey shows unequivocally that social media is now considered an essential component of executive marketing strategy.
With the power of search engines and social media, it's possible to find any information you might want about a company or corporate structure -- but it can be time-consuming, and perhaps not up-to-date. Hoover's, the online repository of company information, is launching a new branding effort that showcases its value to its customers, particularly its ability to help them work smarter and be more successful in sales, marketing and the business of business.
In addressing American innovation in the State of the Union Address, President Obama called America a nation of Google and Facebook. The mention is significant not only because Obama has been known for leveraging social media, but also the timing of the mention.
The frustration that the country’s magazine and newspaper publishers feel toward Apple can sound a lot like a variation on the old relationship gripe, “can’t live with ’em, may get left behind without ’em.”
If you ever believed that social media really could help make a difference in the world, then we’ve got some great news for you.
The headline in yesterday's New York Times business section was instantly exciting: "Kleiner Perkins and Partners Create $250 Million 'Social' Fund." Another progressive venture fund, this one driven by social justice rather than environmental issues? Fantastic! But reading the full article on the New York Times blog dispelled my enthusiasm.
In our previous two posts, we discussed the significance of cloud computing and social software. We rarely get excited about technology for technology's sake — we are most interested in how technologies (and people and practices) alter the business landscape. In this post, we explore how the convergence of these two technology edges can help to support extreme performance improvement. In particular, we want to focus on their potential to change individuals' behaviors and orientation toward challenges.
Mountain Dew rolls out an innovative ad campaign featuring banners that incorporate Facebook’s "like" icon, marking the first time the social-networking behemoth will extend its social/sharing functionality to ads appearing on other Web sites.
Clothes shoppers wanting to experience the 21st-century version of dress-up have until November to try on the new Macy's Magic Fitting Room in the retail chain's New York's Herald Square flagship store. Macy's calls the Magic Fitting Room the future of retail, and this does seem to be the case, as more retailers adopt augmented-reality solutions for clothing and shoes.
The generous types among us now have a convenient way to treat friends to Starbucks from afar. Facebook members can give the gift of Starbucks without ever leaving the site, thanks to an update added today to the Starbucks Card Facebook application.
The singer and guitarist John Mayer, whose prolific posts on Twitter drew nearly four million followers, shocked fans in mid-September by closing his account. But Mr. Mayer hasn’t gone away. He’s switched from Twitter to Tumblr, a free blogging service that has become a hit among Internet enthusiasts. Tumblr, based in New York, says it is drawing 30,000 new members a day. Mr. Mayer, whose heavy Twitter use was said to have upset his girlfriends, posted that “I have an even larger Tumblr addiction.”
Headaches for brands—and the people who manage them—are increasingly common when it comes to search results. More are on the way thanks to social media and the proliferation of smart phones. You should be aware of the impact on your brand because both social media and the use of smart phones to express opinions are growing quickly.
Gap has announced on its Facebook Page that it is scrapping its new logo design efforts, acquiescing to a torrent of criticism coming primarily from Facebook and Twitter users. Last week, Gap unveiled a new logo, one it called “a more contemporary, modern expression.” The retailer’s customers were not so thrilled about the change, and Gap decided to ask users for their logo design ideas instead. However, that course of action has now been reversed, as well.
There has been much debate recently about whether or not Twitter is a meaningful tool for brands. But there's no doubt that consumers and marketers are having real, two-way conversations through Twitter that are producing measurable results for brands like Dell and Best Buy. Consumers want to communicate with brands -- and with the recent proliferation of participatory digital platforms, access to them and other consumers is easier than ever before.
For decades brands basked in the glory of control, control over consumers’ perceptions, impressions and ultimately decisions and ensuing experiences. Or better said, business leaders enjoyed a semblance of control. While businesses concentrated resources on distancing the connections between customers, influencers and representatives, a new democracy was materializing. This movement would inevitably render these faceless actions not only defunct, but also perilous.
Marketers of all kinds have been lured by the promise of social networking, and the ease with which they can set up Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for their companies and even their individual brands. But does any of that have a tangible effect on what they are trying to accomplish? According to a new report from Forrester Research, it often does not, primarily because Generation Y users are overwhelmed with Facebook friends, Twitter and MySpace accounts already, and it’s hard for marketing messages to cut through the clutter. Forrester’s advice? Make your content more interesting.
The results of Latitude Research and Shareable Magazine's The New Sharing Economy study released today indicate that online sharing does indeed seem to encourage people to share offline resources such as cars and bikes, largely because they are learning to trust each other online. And they're not just sharing to save money - an equal number of people say they share to make the world a better place.
In the last decade, we've had two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), two automobile bankruptcies (General Motors and Chrysler) and two radically new social-media sites (Facebook and Twitter). We've had a housing crisis, a banking crisis and a dot-com bubble. Three of our four leading airlines have gone bankrupt. And the fourth one (American Airlines) is losing money. We've witnessed the incredible rise of Google and Apple. And the incredible fall of A.I.G. and Lehman Brothers. "Everything has changed" is the message marketers have been reacting to recently. And because everything has changed, marketers believe they have to change everything in their marketing programs.
I had an inane exchange with a social media consultant on his blog last week that reminded me of a truism: just as the rule for understanding politics is to follow the money, an important quality of social media experience is revealed when you consider the role of the megaphone owner...or, in this case, the guy who operates the guillotine. Our topic wasn't important and the guy is probably an otherwise fine human being; I'm much more interested in what our "conversation" told me about the role of social tools like blogging, especially when they seem to be considered by many people to be viable alternatives to traditional media outlets, or often an outright replacement for them. I'm troubled by that prospect, even as I'm thrilled and encouraged for the future potential applications of social media technology
When part of my garden fence fell down this week, my dog was delighted, my neighbor exposed, my wife mortified and my impatiens completely flattened. After spending a couple of hours jerry-rigging the crumbling wood back into place, I realized this experience was a convenient if not appropriate metaphor for the challenge marketers face in dealing with social media within their organizations. Like a dog with a bone, consumers are thrilled with the tumbling divide between themselves and the brands they choose to engage with. Unfortunately, big companies do not necessarily share this enthusiasm, treating social media as yet another channel to be managed by an existing department like marketing or corporate communications and, in doing so, limiting the opportunity for a truly new approach.
Last summer, while researching how teenagers engage with social media websites, Danah Boyd interviewed a girl who had recently broken up with her boyfriend. The girl wanted to share her sadness with friends, but not with her parents, who she knew had Facebook access. Her solution: posting lyrics from “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,’’ a Monty Python song steeped in irony, to communicate her true feelings. Friends responded with appropriate concern, while her parents remained appropriately clueless. “She managed privacy issues well in a very public setting,’’ said Boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research New England, a lab supported by the software company.
Influence is bliss… The socialization of media is as transformative as it is empowering. As individuals, we’re tweeting, updating, blogging, commenting, curating, liking and friending our way toward varying levels of stature within our social graphs. With every response and action that results from our engagement, we are slowly introduced to the laws of social physics: for every action there is a reaction – even if that reaction is silence. And, the extent of this resulting activity is measured by levels of influence and other factors such as the size and shape of nicheworks as well as attention aperture and time.
Ford and Web radio station Pandora are partners in a new cause-marketing push featuring artists John Legend and Jewel. The fourth-quarter campaign allows Pandora visitors to use the platform's social share feature to share a "mixtape" from playlists compiled by either artist. When a song is shared, Ford and Pandora will make a donation to the artist's charity of choice. Ford signed Pandora to its Sync platform earlier this year.
Godin discussed the notion that marketers have put themselves in a bit of a predicament. Over the course of the past 50 to 60 years, marketers have learned that the more frequently they hit customers with a message about a product or service, the more they are inclined to purchase. But in doing so, they have cannibalized their own efforts. The challenge now is in finding ways to reach people who have been trained to ignore ads. Godin noted, “there is too much clutter … because we’ve branded ourselves to death.”
Influence has been a hot topic here for the past few months. But what determines someone’s influence on Twitter? Number of tweets? Number of followers? Number of followers' followers? Researchers from Northwestern University seem to have found the answer, and it’s a lot more complicated than who follows who. Ramanathan Narayanan, a Ph.D candidate at Northwestern University, and his professor Alok Choudhary developed a project that tracks influence on Twitter based on specific topics.
It seems to me that the problem with dinosaurs was that they had such short arms. Looking at the small rubber T.Rex I have in front of me, it's obvious that they were incapable of feeding themselves in a civilised fashion, they weren't going to be able to punch anyone, and they'd never be able to knit the warm clothes they needed for the ice age. But advertising is kind of like paleontology, in that we're always looking to locate the dinosaurs; it's like finding the fat kid at school, so at least you don't come last in the 100 metres. And various people have recently suggested to me that digital agencies are the threatened species - not the big bad indistinguishable behemoths of traditional adland, the agencies named after people whom even John Tylee has never met.
The past few years have seen some spectacular changes in the technology that embeds itself in our daily lives. The perfect storm of social media, smart phones and location awareness is only beginning to take full effect. We’ve gazed into crystal ball and considered how we think these technologies will combine to become such an established fabric of our lives that in the next few years what we’ve written here won’t be considered amazing at all.
The future of social media in journalism will see the death of “social media.” That is, all media as we know it today will become social, and feature a social component to one extent or another. After all, much of the web experience, particularly in the way we consume content, is becoming social and personalized. But more importantly, these social tools are inspiring readers to become citizen journalists by enabling them to easily publish and share information on a greater scale. The future journalist will be more embedded with the community than ever, and news outlets will build their newsrooms to focus on utilizing the community and enabling its members to be enrolled as correspondents. Bloggers will no longer be just bloggers, but be relied upon as more credible sources. Here are some trends we are noticing, and we would love to hear your thoughts and observations in the comments below.
Back in 2006, Mentos became an early leader among brands in social media when it capitalized on two performance artists posting videos of what happens when you put the candy in Diet Coke. (Explosions.) After the resulting YouTube viral phenomenon, Mentos embraced the creators and rode a wave of viral buzz while Coke issued a dour statement that it wasn't amused. Fast-forward to 2010. Coke now ranks as the third most popular brand on Facebook with 11.3 million fans. Mentos, as of March, had only 10,000 fans. But then its agency, Isobar, in an effort to play catch-up, paired a two-for-one offer with a pricey reach block on Facebook -- it can cost over $500,000 to reach every Facebook user for a day -- and Mentos saw its number of fans grow to 120,000 in a single day. Brands that are only now establishing themselves on Facebook are playing a desperate game of catch-up.
Pepsi is so happy with its "Refresh Project" social media marketing campaign that it has renewed funding for 2011 and will expand it to the rest of the world. This year it will give away $20 million to the good works projects that win the most supportive votes from consumers, representing "true democratization of the philanthropic process," according to a company spokesman. I say it's really dumb, and not just slightly dishonest.
Brands are flocking to social networks, some with strategies and others simply experimenting with community building. What’s clear is that the 3F’s (friends, fans, and followers) are not created equal. Those brands who examine the composition of their existing community will find that many are simply seeking access to exclusive specials and content. According to a recent comScore report, 23% of Twitter users follow businesses to find special deals, promotions, or sales. 14% of Twitter users reported taking to the stream to find and share product reviews and opinions. Earlier this year, Chadwick Martin Bailey published a study that showed 25% of consumers connected to brands on Facebook did so to receive discounts. But here’s where things get interesting, in the same report, comScore found that Facebook and Twitter visitors spend 1.5x more online than average Internet users. Herein lies the opportunity for brands looking to add yet another “C” to many C’s of Community – commerce.
Facebook in August for the first time took the top spot among major sites with a total of 41.1 billion minutes, according to new data from comScore. Google was second with 39.8 billion minutes and Yahoo fell to third, with 37.7 billion. Furthermore, Yahoo's share of time spent in the third quarter dropped to an all-time low of 9.3%.
The boundaries between search, social and display media are diminishing. This means advertisers, agencies and marketers face a new kind of challenge.
Over the last five years, social media has evolved from a handful of communities that existed solely in a web browser to a multi-billion dollar industry that’s quickly expanding to mobile devices, driving major changes in content consumption habits and providing users with an identity and social graph that follows them across the web. With that framework in place, the next five years are going to see even more dramatic change. Fueled by advancements in underlying technology – the wires, wireless networks and hardware that make social media possible – a world where everything is connected awaits us. The result will be both significant shifts in our everyday lives and a changing of the guard in several industries that are only now starting to feel the impact of social media
Where have all the marketing strategists gone? Perhaps the downturn has forced marketers into a more tactical mode; perhaps the lack of strategy is due to leaner teams trying to execute more for less. Whatever the reason, marketing strategy seems to have all but disappeared from the marketing skill set. And this gap has huge implications for marketing effectiveness. When strategy is neglected, the price paid is beyond just dollars out the door; the price comes in terms of fewer opportunities from the target market, lower inquiry rates, and fewer sales conversions.
Meet Jack. He has an abiding interest in soy protein isolate. Or carob-seed gum. Or high-oleic sunflower oil. And can't stop talking about any of it. Jack just met Jill. Yet Jill is edging away from Jack at the gallery opening. Or "unfriending" him on Facebook. And we don't blame Jill. Yet, this is precisely the opening gambit used by many marketers trying to engage with people. This self-absorbed approach is incompatible with basic human nature. And this should come as no surprise, as it is also incompatible with common sense. Yet, it's a trap brands fall into too often, obsessing over the minutiae of what separates them from other brands within a particular category.
With the insane amount of data out there, it's tempting to skip the human element altogether and rely solely on statistics. But performance metrics alone can't tell you what motivates your audience to start a blog, share a video or post about their breakfast on Facebook. And it can't tell you the exact point when first-time moms realize their new little bundle of joy means a 54% increase in laundry, leaving them running to the appliance store. These are the types of insights that result from a consistent two-way dialogue with an audience over a long period of time.
It's official: the allegation that P&G's new diapers cause rashes, led and fueled in large part by consumers' use of social media, has been refuted. Three cheers for the good news! Concerned parents and supportive activists can collectively breathe a sigh of relief. Solid, accurate information has saved the day for everyone involved. Only not so much. In order to get to the bottom of this issue (yuck yuck), here's a quickie background (more yuck yuck): one of the few real product innovations coming out of P&G these days is Pampers Dry Max diapers, which promise to do everything from sop up more gunk using less material while fitting better, to take less than a millennium to decompose once they're discarded. The company did everything it could to botch the product rollout, though, starting with putting the new diapers in boxes for the old ones, so early consumers were surprised by the change. Reports connecting the new diapers to rashes came next on parenting web sites, followed by Facebook pages calling for a consumer boycott and the activism of class-action lawyers looking to make a buck.
Most weekday mornings are fairly predictable: I make a pot of coffee; I walk the dogs with my wife, Eliza; I have a second cup of coffee while Eliza gets ready. This probably sounds familiar, as we all have our routines. But this is not where the predictability in my day ends. I check email on my phone to find a daily handful of mass mail from various research firms and business publications. Many of the articles within these emails (especially those targeted toward marketers) will be on the topic of social media. Perhaps this, too, is a normal part of your morning. If that’s the case, perhaps you have noticed the content of these emails is also a bit predictable.
For years, people built brands (really their businesses, we didn't know about brands then) by learning how to deliver a consistent experience across everything they did. The product, their service, everything was teed into their business and they're profitability. They got instant feedback from the people who were their customers and word spread, both good & bad, based on the experience that was delivered. If you think about it, it was really all viral and social marketing back then, we just didn't have the technology at we talk about today.
The social media revolution has been fueled by the Millennial (born roughly between 1980- present) and X (born roughly between 1964-1979) Generations, but the baby boomers (born between roughly 1946 - 1964) and the Silent Generation (born between roughly 1925 - 1945) are catching on. For the same Americans who may have once watched television on a wooden box, social networking has "nearly doubled—from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010," according to a report released on August 27 by the Pew Research Center, entitled Older Adults and Social Media.
Call it the year of the recall. The massive recall of 550 million eggs is the biggest of its kind to hit the nation -- yet it's just one of dozens of major recalls consumers have seen in 2010. In the span of last week alone, companies like Tyson, Garmin and Johnson & Johnson pulled all manner of consumer products, including GPS devices, contact-lens solution, hip replacements, flat-screen TV wall mounts, popsicles, deli meat, baby bottle warmers and yet more Toyota cars. It's unclear whether there's actually been a dramatic spike in 2010 in the number of recalls (a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission spokeswoman last week it doesn't track that information) or whether it's merely that the recall announcements are being faster and more broadly publicized thanks to social-media channels.
For the first time in history, brands are trying to navigate a two-way channel of communication. Social media requires a value exchange between the consumer and the brand. Here are some reasons to think of it as one giant party.
As millions of students are trudging back to the classrooms this August, Facebook is returning to its roots: colleges and universities. Just in time for the back-to-school season, the company has partnered with social marketing firm Context Optional to build a Facebook Page of resources and information for new and returning students and their families. Students can find out about publicizing events, engaging with their larger campus community and distributing their own content on this page.
The role of a "chief listener" evokes images of fuzzy sweaters, chamomile tea and sitting around with a patient ear. Instead, try sifting through unstructured data and building complex queries.
The growing dominance of social media compels marketers to abandon their old hard sell in favor of a content-driven marketing conversation that can facilitate meaningful brand relationships with customers and prospects. In this challenging environment, content is a key tool to fostering relationships, but publishing a blog, creating a Facebook fan page or launching a Twitter feed is only the beginning of a strategic content marketing program. Content marketing differs from traditional methods that employ interruption techniques in the belief that delivering helpful, relevant information drives profitable consumer action. The idea of sharing content is increasingly driving marketers to make proprietary intellectual assets available to influential audiences. Savvy content marketers create fresh information to share via all available media channels, on and off-line.
Everyone says Google doesn't "get" social media. What Google gets better than anyone else in the world, though, is search - combine the two and the company may have found a winning recipe. Today Google announced that its real time search feature now has its own home page at Google.com/realtime and a number of new features. The new Google Realtime is well executed, useful and certainly better than Twitter or Facebook's own search implementation to date. The downside? There's a lot that's missing that will limit the cool things that could be done with it.
A day doesn’t pass without headlines proclaiming that social media is changing everything (as are mobile, geo-location targeting, etc.) Two recent pieces raised some valid, challenging points around whether social media is truly critical for every brand/property to participate in – or whether the question of becoming ’social’ should be evaluated more strategically against objectives and performance measures, without the urgent, ‘act now or lose out!’ sense of hype. The second piece also got us thinking about the different considerations and implications that social media represent for brands vs. media properties.
Having a well known brand can be a wonderful thing—you have a base of customers who know and trust your offerings. However, marketers often ignore this brand loyal segment, and chase after new customers instead. While developing new business is a necessity, marketers shouldn’t let existing customers get left behind.
In part ten of a series of conversations exploring the state of social media, Chris Beck, founder of 26dottwo and I speculate on the future of social networks. Social networking as it exists today is not scalable nor is it representative of how social beings connect and engage. We are complex individuals we are defined by what we share, consume, and to whom we connect. Our social graphs are woven with the fabrics of our interests, passions, and relations. One update does not resonate across the social graph. Networks will evolve to match content to context and allow us to seamlessly connect relevant information and people based on frames of reference and subjects.
The conversation economy is thriving, and in the crush to build a social presence, many companies are using social media as a new outbound marketing channel. As another outlet, social media can be a substitute for traditional media and other methods of pushing marketing messages to audiences. But many marketers are falling short when it comes to building brand value and improved engagement through online communities. When building two way communications on public networks like Facebook, the balance of power is in the hands of the user not the marketer. Many public social networking sites may be well established, familiar and appealing to consumers, but they seldom offer a marketer the control or flexibility required to meet their objectives.
While I’m certainly supportive of the idea that brand should treat their customers with the utmost care and respect, least they flee to hungry competitors or even to the interwebs to vent their frustrations with them, I think enumerating these ideas as requisites for the general consuming public is idyllic and naive. For every consummate professional out there (like Boches), there exists about 15 dipshits who will only bitch to bitch. Or bitch to get free stuff. The customer is not always right. In fact, sometimes the customer is quite an asshole. Should consumers hold brands to a higher standard? Yes. Should we unleash the huddled masses, trailer trash and mouth-breathers on Twitter and Facebook and blogs to whine about every misstep or oversight they encountered while buying Natty Light and Marlboro Light 100s at the Circle K? I’m thinking no.
In 2009 Katie O'Brien was looking for an agency partner to help her launch a major digital effort. The global digital marketing manager at Ben & Jerry's issued a brief to a traditional digital shop and a traditional PR agency, Edelman. The plans they brought back were, in Ms. O'Brien's own words, "night and day." The biggest difference, she said, was that one understood social media better than the other -- and it wasn't the digital agency.
What’s the first thing young women do when they wake up? Check Facebook. How do enterprise employees pass the time at work? With social media. With so many studies highlighting ever-accelerating social media usage rates, the conclusion is obvious — social media is everywhere. What follows are five of the hottest social media trends right now. Each are influencing our social, online and mobile behaviors in significant ways.
Today, through social media, it is possible for businesses to connect with hundreds of millions of customers and prospects around the world. Many businesses have already launched Facebook sites and Twitter accounts, and are actively engaging with their fans and followers. However, the majority of online marketers have no idea what impact these activities have on their brand or sales. It's time to get smart about social media. Social media today is reminiscent of the early days of other online channels or media -- from websites and email to search engines and behavioral targeting -- no one knew quite what success looked like and some of the early experiments were not only un-optimized, they were just plain awful. Eventually, the experimental approach gave way to a more sophisticated, metrics-based approach and, then, CFO's began to notice the healthy ROI's coming from these online channels.
With such highly fragmented consumer behavior, how can we have domain-specific experts setting our strategies? As the Nielsen study shows, it simply isn't sufficient to have mastery over one area. The new media strategist will have to acquire knowledge across multiple disciplines, so as to be able to have a unified strategy across a TV commercial, its online teaser, the mobile call to action, and the messaging elements that will spark the next big thing on Facebook. This multi-disciplinary approach is also good for creativity. In a recent article in The New York Times, Thomas Friedman quoted Marc Tucker, the president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, as saying: "One thing we know about creativity is that it typically occurs when people who have mastered two or more quite different fields use the framework in one to think afresh about the other."
According to Deloitte's 2010 Back-to-School Survey, three out of 10 consumers plan to use their mobile phones to assist in their back-to-school shopping. No doubt, as shoppers look to social media for product information, reviews and sales, the ecology of shopping is changing rapidly. As it does, marketers are trying to address two challenges. The first is how to strike the right balance between verified traditional methods and the pursuit of new ways of communicating with shoppers. The second challenge for marketers is to garner shopper attention, then earn and cultivate a relationship with the shopper.
No matter how much we open up on the web, creating new connections online can be intimidating. Just as not everyone can start a conversation with a stranger at the bar, not everyone can comfortably start conversations in social media. Luckily, there are hundreds of online services and apps popping up, trying to solve our social awkwardness and help us discover new connections in new ways. These tools allow even the introverts among us to communicate, find friends, business partners and, yes, dates.
So with all this relentless talk about Twitter accounts, Facebook fan pages and cool new apps, I have a serious and timely question. Do brand websites still matter? Yes, I know -- even asking this question is a bit digitally sacrilegious. Websites are to digital strategy as models are to fashion, but do we really need them?
Chances are, you live a plugged-in life. We connect with Facebook, share through Twitter, watch on YouTube, learn from Google. Today’s playlist explores what it means to live online. We start with a blogging visionary — SixApart’s Mena Trott, the founding mother of the blog revolution. She talks about finding community, relationships and a healthy dose of narcissism in the blogosphere.
The media is something that for most, if not all, of our adult lives, we have taken for granted. Media giants form the terra firma of the marketing industry, both its paid and earned disciplines. They provide the lifeblood of services and bring us the audiences we need to do our jobs. However, underneath it all, the harsh reality is that there's a new digital dynamic present today. This will mean that many media companies divide themselves into dozens of smaller independent operating companies if they wish to survive. Many won't.
When marketers use terms like brand "personality," "character" and "manner," they're more accurate than they know. New research into consumer brand purchase and loyalty behavior has revealed that the way humans respond to brands is simply an extension of the way they instinctively perceive, judge and behave toward one another. In short, people were the first brands; faces were the first logos. That insight could revolutionize brand and social-media strategies.
Google’s recent announcement that search spend growth rates are slowing represents that search marketing as we all know (and love) it is changing. Advertisers still use search engines to market much the same way they did five years ago. But as consumer behavior expands to include searching through apps or communities or via non-PC devices, marketers will need to think about search marketing as more than just SEM and SEO. At Forrester, we expect search marketing to evolve into an umbrella term which means using any targeted media to help an advertiser get found. What changes are afoot to provoke such a redefinition of search marketing?
Marketers need to stop blasting messages to consumers and, instead, listen to them. So says Diane Hessan, president and CEO of Communispace, a 10-year-old company in Watertown, Mass., that creates online communities for marketers such as Kraft, Best Buy, Verizon and Mattel. These companies pay Communispace up to $25,000 a month to help them create and communicate with customers online for market research and feedback. Communispace pulled in $37 million in revenue in 2009, up 17% from the year before, according to the Honomichl Top 50 Report of U.S. Marketing Research Firms. Forbes' Ken Brunospoke with Hessan about online customer engagement and how it has changed over the past decade.
I love baseball and will always await the first day of spring training with the ardor of a lover coming home after an exile. But I will never be a baseball player. It’s just not in my make-up. My misery over my failed baseball career is no different than Google’s. The world’s largest search engine covets a key to the magical kingdom called the social web. It would do anything to become part of that exclusive club that, for now, is the domain of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and to some extent, Twitter. Google will do just about anything to get social, like spend a rumored $182 million on San Francisco-based Slide, a head-scratcher of a deal.
You see, businesses, brands and organizations are truly struggling with the disruptive nature of social technologies. In fact, the term "social technologies" is part of the problem—we are all fixated on the technologies and meanwhile the real action lies in harnessing the change brought about by human behavior enabled by technology. I used the simple story of how a colleague shared a book with me. The book itself (media) is not social—the interactions, communications, stories and conversations that involve the book are.
There can be no doubt that social marketing has been the hot topic for the last few years, but many marketers still have reservations about seriously investing in the space. Whilst many of the reasons for such reticence can be quickly brushed off (it’s just for kids, it’s a fad, etc…) some deserve more attention. One such reason, which continually crops us, is the issue of measuring the effectiveness of social, and understanding how to make real use of it. There has been some great attempts to try to overcome such reservations recently, including the IAB’s measurement framework, and Nielsen’s Facebook work, but still such concerns persist. It’s for this reason that a bunch of enthusiastic people set-up MeasurementCamp, an informal, open-source event, which was recently relaunched in London. I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at the first of the new MeasurementCamp series, and thought that I would share the topics discussed.
As we enter August and our shrinks go on vacation, it would be easy to go crazy over all the dour news related to social media. Fortress Facebook is showing cracks as 170,000 or so 26- to-34-year-olds defected from the network in June, according to Inside Facebook. Fast-growing Foursquare, which reached its 100 millionth check-in milestone in July, was doused by a Forrester study that recommended a wait-and-see approach. And 24 hours after the most beautifully orchestrated social media stunt since BK's Whopper Sacrifice, several respectable publications were asking, "Yeah, but did it sell bottles of Old Spice?"
The time Americans spent on social media has surged 43% in the past year, leading a substantial shift in how the country spends its online time. That time spent online has also sent e-mail to third behind gaming, according to research by Nielsen Co. The time spent on social media accessed from PCs rose from 15.8% in June 2009 to 22.7% in June 2010, according to Nielsen, while online gaming gained more modestly to 10.2% of online time from 9.3% a year earlier. But that was enough to push gaming past e-mail, which fell to 8.3% of online time spent at the PC from 10.5% a year earlier.
I am watching the reinvigoration of the Buick Regal name with some interest. This is a brand name that is being essentially relaunched to reach a younger demographic, with a heavy focus on the 35-40 age group, moving away from the traditional Buick target market, usually double that age bracket. There are two ads: Autobahn and Discover Beauty that essentially position the car as an American BMW, since much is being made of the car's German engineering.
By now, plenty of traditional media companies have hopped on the social media bandwagon, pumping out news updates on Facebook and Twitter. But do those companies have the time and resources to work yet another Web outlet into their daily routine?
We’re moving, in other words, toward a fascinating cultural transition: the death of the telephone call. This shift is particularly stark among the young. Some college students I know go days without talking into their smartphones at all. I was recently hanging out with a twentysomething entrepreneur who fumbled around for 30 seconds trying to find the option that actually let him dial someone.
Brandchannel recently took a peek at Perrier's risque business with burlesque artist Dita Von Teese. Now comes word from the U.K. of Volvo's European launch of its S60 model — or as Volvo calls it, the Naughty S60. Volvo, trying to shake its image as a family-friendly brand, recently hosted underground parties in London, Paris, Milan, Berlin and Madrid. In addition to hip musical acts (such as Facehunter and Lykke Li), to drive word of mouth Volvo invited a mix of hipsters, bloggers and celebrities. A mobile augmented reality app guided guests to the hidden parties. But that's not what made it all (and one event in particular) particularly naughty. As creativematch notes, unknown to party-goers, hidden within each party was a series of experiments, "carefully designed to measure guests’ naughtiness, conformity, daring, confidence, curiosity and desire."
Okay, maybe that's going too far. I don't really recommend firing your marketing manager. I do however believe that most companies will eventually need to hire or contract with a community manager, if they haven't already.
Most brands incorporate Twitter in their social media strategy, but are they actually using it effectively? Not exactly, according to research released today by New York-based digital agency 360i.
The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday became Hollywood’s leader in the booming social game business by acquiring Playdom in a deal worth as much as $763.2 million.
Not only will consumers finally be spending more on back-to-school shopping this year, they'll be doing it in decidedly different ways. A new back-to-school survey from Deloitte reports that 28% of consumers plan to spend more this year than they did last year, and only 17% plan to spend less.
On Tuesday, Amazon.com took a step toward making the shopping experience on its Web site more social. For many people, shopping is as much about socializing as it is about buying something — a chance to run into neighbors at the farmers’ market or spend time with a friend at the mall. And people who go shopping with a friend inevitably ask advice before buying. But it’s hard to do that when online shopping. Now, Amazon shoppers who connect their Amazon and Facebook accounts transport their Facebook friends to Amazon — and can get recommendations from those friends on what to buy.
Attention brands: Twitter users aren't talking to you or about you. In fact, they barely know you exist. That's one of the conclusions of a six-month analysis of the service's ubiquitous 140-character messages conducted by digital agency 360i and released today. Despite marketers' embrace of the medium, brands are finding themselves on the outside of the conversation. Of the 90% of Twitter messages sent by real people -- the other 10% come from businesses -- only 12% ever mention a brand, and most of those mentions are of Twitter itself.
If there was a single familiar refrain from digital shops over the past decade, it was that their older, traditional-agency brethren "didn't get it" when it came to digital. But lately, that widely acknowledged gap has begun to narrow to the point where "older" agencies can claim more success in some areas of digital marketing.
Last week in Advertising Age, I tried to argue that we marketers should reevaluate our approaches to "interruption" and "engagement" marketing, as I think we're using both terms incorrectly. Budgets are getting shifted away from the short commercials of traditional media into longer social experiences of new media, like Old Spice's recent campaign, as if the latter's entertainment can replace the former's historic utility. Dozens of smart folks chimed in with ideas that either improved on what I'd tried to say, or added thoughts that had never occurred to me. I want to thank all of them...except for the numbnut who declared that "advertising is lies, all lies" and called us "paid prevaricators." I have no idea what he was doing slumming with us in one of the Inferno's outer rings, as he clearly belongs further in. I'd like to riff on what I found to be the most consistent and insightful commentary.
A couple of months or so after becoming Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron wanted a few tips from somebody who could tell him how it felt to be responsible for, and accountable to, many millions of people: people who expected things from him, even though in most cases he would never shake their hands. He turned not to a fellow head of government but to…Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and boss of Facebook, the phenomenally successful social network.
Kraft Foods/Nabisco Wheat Thins will take social media marketing integration to a new level this week, when it debuts the first of at least two 30-second national TV commercials featuring consumers who have tweeted positively about the brand.
Shared links have a longer shelf life on Facebook than Twitter, and Buzzfeed sends more traffic through re-shares than direct clicks. That's two of the things my agency learned when we launched a stealth social-media experiment through a site we created called Jerzify Yourself. Jerzify Yourself was created in January of this year, a week after the season one finale of the popular MTV show "Jersey Shore" that attracted an audience of 4.8 million. The site, written in a few days in Flash, allows users to upload their headshot onto a stylized body and morph themselves into a Jersey Shore "Guido" or "Guidette." Or as New York's Village Voice put it: "The gist is Snooki-grade simple: upload a medium-size jpg, scale the image to fit, choose your spray-tan shade, pick your pose -- and holy Freckles McGee, you're magically recast as a human meatball." Why did we do this? To evaluate the power of social media and spreadable content.
When historians of the future look back on the perils of the early digital age, Stacy Snyder may well be an icon. The problem she faced is only one example of a challenge that, in big and small ways, is confronting millions of people around the globe: how best to live our lives in a world where the Internet records everything and forgets nothing — where every online photo, status update, Twitter post and blog entry by and about us can be stored forever.
If social media warranted a mantra, it would sound something like this, "Always pay it forward and never forget to pay it back...it's how you got here and it defines where you're going." This intentional form of alternative giving is referred to as "generalized reciprocity" or "generalized exchange." The capital of this social economy is measured in these productive relationships and those relationships are earned through the acts of reciprocity, recognition, respect and benevolence. So how can businesses, which, one could argue, typically represent a "pay it backward" approach (ie, "pay me for my goods and services"), thrive in this environment?
I know we're not supposed to say it out loud, but a lot of CMOs and agency types think that advertising is going the way of the dinosaur, the Model T and conversation without emoticons. Consumers want to engage with content instead of get interrupted by ads, or so the logic goes, so we celebrate social campaigns like the recent one from Old Spice, and find favor only for commercials that are entertaining. Making a sales pitch just isn't credible anymore. Now that we're well into the social-media revolution, I think it's time to revisit the three assumptions on which this argument is based.
Scott Monty is the global digital communications chief for the Ford Motor Company, and full disclosure, a force to be reckoned with in The Influence Project. He currently ranks at number 43. He likes to say that Ford subscribes to a combination Woody Allen/Yogi Berra theory for social media where 90% may be just showing up, but what's critical is what you do when you get there. Monty talked to Fast Company about Ford's strategy for combining online and traditional advertising, breaking out of comfort cliques to expand a customer base, and the trials and opportunities presented by living in a 140 character society.
Most companies are barely prepared to deal with unhappy customers who use social media to air their gripes. Now they must be ready to respond when organized entities, such as Greenpeace, wage massive campaigns against their brands using social media channels.
In recent weeks I've been in a state of "digital detox," or better yet, "social sobriety." Ironically, I now feel a bit more in touch and conversational. My beautiful sister Mary Grace passed away a week ago as a result of complications from heart failure. She was only 55. The extreme shock was mitigated only slightly by spending a week with her in the hospital before she died. From the first inkling of serious trouble to last weekend's beautiful memorial service in the San Diego area, my life's been a non-stop series of conversations. I'm talking about the real stuff -- deep, intimate, authentic, meaningful, sustaining, raw, emotional, agonizing, intense. And with a diverse cross-section of audiences: my six siblings, multiple relatives, doctors, nurses, close friends of my sister, her son, my Alzheimer's-afflicted mother and others. Needless to say, this has given me long-overdue pause for introspection. Connecting in meaningful ways over someone you have lost, or are losing, makes everything else we deem "social" seem so ... well, unsocial. Or perhaps just a bit trivial.
As more and more advertising dollars flow into social media, some Madison Avenue firms are seeking to grab a piece of the action. But it will be a tough fight as the space is overrun with companies seeking to own the segment, from start-ups to public-relations firms. Universal McCann, the media-buying firm owned by Interpublic Group of Cos., is bolstering its social-media offering by launching a practice this week called Rally. The division will help marketers develop campaigns, track online chatter about their brands and measure how those campaigns perform. Headed by Heidi Browning, a former MySpace executive, Rally will house several new social-media hires.
Has your company spent seemingly countless hours tweeting on Twitter, networking on Facebook and writing the company blog? Have you found yourself wondering if it's all a waste of time? Maybe that last Facebook fan page contest saw fewer entries than you'd hoped for, or that last Twitter-only coupon had fewer redemptions than you'd expected, but perhaps that's not all that matters. According to the the latest report by analyst firm Forrester, many people are looking at the face value dollars and cents of social media marketing and, put simply, they're doing it wrong. Beyond clicks and coupon redemptions, there lies a case for social media marketing that shows its value is well beyond what we see on the surface.
Old Spice has made history, dominating YouTube last week with 8 of the 11 most-watched videos on Friday and racking up tens of millions of views. Its "Smell Like a Man" campaign, in which its spokesmodel quickly shot mostly unscripted and hilariously funny replies to nearly 200 online inquiries (including some from famous people). It prompted numerous copycat videos and got covered by just about every news outlet in America. Now what?
As more and more advertising dollars flow into social media, some Madison Avenue firms are seeking to grab a piece of the action. But it will be a tough fight as the space is overrun with companies seeking to own the segment, from start-ups to public-relations firms. "You can't walk out your house without bumping into a social-media expert today, says Sean Corcoran, an analyst at Forrester Research. "The reality is the space is still very much a Wild West."
Scott Monty is the global digital communications chief for the Ford Motor Company, and full disclosure, a force to be reckoned with in The Influence Project. He currently ranks at number 43. He likes to say that Ford subscribes to a combination Woody Allen/Yogi Berra theory for social media where 90% may be just showing up, but what's critical is what you do when you get there. Monty talked to Fast Company about Ford's strategy for combining online and traditional advertising, breaking out of comfort cliques to expand a customer base, and the trials and opportunities presented by living in a 140 character society.
Businesses both big and small are flocking to social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Foursquare. The fact is that a presence on these platforms not only allows companies to engage in conversations with consumers, but also serves as an outlet to drive sales through deals and coupons. And while major brands like Starbucks, Virgin, and Levi’s have been participating in the social web for some time now, the rate of adoption among small businesses is increasing too.
This week BP successfully recapped its ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Test results are favorable and show that oil and gas are, for the time being, confined. This news inspires cautious optimism in the hearts of residents and spectators alike. Online, however, the social effect continues to flow across social networks and social graphs, echoing anger, hope, and the demand for resolution and prevention from BP and the Obama administration.
As customers make or break brands online, companies rush to hire social media directors…and figure out what they do.
Coca-Cola is free. No, not in calories or caffeine, but the media that fans generate about the brand. Michael Donnelly, the Atlanta-based company's group director of worldwide interactive marketing, speaking at the ANA's Social Media conference in New York on Thursday, said fan-generated content and commentary costs nothing, and is a major benefit of using social media. The company, which fields 500 brands worldwide in some 206 countries, is putting a lot of attention on how to do that as efficiently as possible in its various markets.
The Cannes Film Grand Prix-winning Old Spice campaign has evolved over the last 24 hours to dominate discussion in social media, in what is sure to become the ‘case study du jour’ for the foreseeable future. Yesterday, however, the marketing campaign took a different turn and really got ‘social media right’. It’s been updated and sees Isaiah Mustafa respond directly to YouTube comments, Tweets, Yahoo! Answers and blog posts about him in 117 publicly available, timely and pesonalised video messages. So what are the results? It’s still early to tell, but a few things are apparent.
The online video advertising market is poised for rapid growth over the next few years, according to eMarketer. The research firm estimates online video advertising spending will grow more than 48 percent this year, reaching $1.5 billion. By 2014, it expects the video ad market will top $5.5 billion.
What do senior management executives at CPG companies and retailers think about corporate social media strategies? Top executives were probed on this topic, along with many others, as part of the research for a just-released 2010 Grocery Manufacturers Association/PricewaterhouseCoopers financial performance report -- and the insights gleaned are more specific and practical than marketers might imagine.
Social Media started out as a bit of a novelty — a playground for the “geekerati.” But it has taken hold as a game changing force that will reshape advertising at its very core. It’s time to move past debates about traditional media co-existing with social media. Madison Avenue should see social media as a wonderful, if not disruptive, gift. It should run hard to catch up with the consumer, let go of legacy business models and build something better.
Facebook Inc. is trying to rev up its advertising business with a little help from your friends. The social-networking site is aggressively pitching to big advertisers like Ford Motor Co. and PepsiCo Inc. the latest in a series of ad formats that tell users which of their Facebook friends have expressed interest in the brand or product featured in the ad. The so-called social-context ads, which Facebook started rolling out over a year ago, are based on data it collects on the likes and friends of its users.
Are organizations really preparing themselves for a day where engaging in public will become more mainstream, ubiquitous and even expected? In other words, will the organization truly be “social” when they need it most? To help answer this question, I’m going to list a few core “plays” that your organization should be incorporating into their gameplan if they truly want to move toward making their business more “social”.
In October 1993, a television ad with the tag line "got milk?" first appeared. It was part of a campaign to increase milk consumption by making the drink appear "cool." Previous ads conveyed the nutritional value of milk — but this and subsequent ads demonstrated that milk was the perfect sidekick to cookies, chocolate cake, and other "junk food." As the campaign matured, a series of "milk mustache" ads also appeared, showing celebrities and VIPs sporting an upper lip adorned by the white stuff.
According to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, who spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival recently, Twitter is handling 800 million search queries per day. At Twitter’s Chirp conference in April, Stone said Twitter was serving 600 million search queries per day — 33% less than the microblogging service is processing now.
Sure, trust is part of the relationship, and authority, and all that good stuff. You'll be chasing the popular kids (even those who demur) until the cows come home if you keep thinking that influence is about you. It's not. And you don't need the following of a celebrity to build something of significance. What you need is to identify areas of relevancy among your customers and prospects, build community, and allow others to amplify your influence -- as you meet their needs. Identify, build, allow -- no voodoo or pixie dust here.
Having established his bona fides as social media pioneer, let me now call upon the ever-humble B. Franklin to offer us instruction on how modern-day marketing patriots can declare their independence from social media silliness. And while this piece is no Poor Richard's Almanac, it will approach the topic at hand with a similar clarity of purpose and simplicity in language.
Social media didn’t invent conversations, it provided us with tools to surface and organize them. Conversations about brands predates the mediums used to connect messages and aspirations with consumers. The motivation for brands to engage in social networks varies based on the culture and agility of each company, but what is constant is the aspiration to connect with customers and prospects to earn awareness, attention and connections.
Forest Hills-based JetBlue has prided itself on being a challenger brand and, in doing so, has become one of the hottest brands in America.
Google me this. Can Google go face to face with Facebook? Can it somehow create a social network that will make real people, rather than engineers, leave at the click of a key? What might this nirvana network (and surely "nirvana" would be a far better name that the alleged "Google.Me") look like?
There has been plenty of discussion about how governments are using social media to engage with the general public and open up their vast amounts of data to collaborators. The interagency collaboration occurring behind government firewalls using wikis and blogs is also well-publicized. A topic that’s received less attention are the ways that social media and the principles of openness, collaboration, and authenticity are transforming how the government does business. How is social media changing the government contracting process? That’s the $500 billion+ question.
Much virtual ink has been spilled over how the viral potential of online video can be a potent ambush-marketing tool at big events such as the World Cup. But new research from Nielsen on the 2010 FIFA World Cup shows that, while web video can be a potent ambush tool in the run-up period to a major event, it's a lot less effective than an official sponsorship once the games start.
I'll never forget attending my first World Cup game. It was back in 1994 and took place in my hometown Rose Bowl, the same field where I marched in gleeful pride at Pasadena High School's graduation. Romania squared off vs. Argentina. The game was nothing short of electrifying. Back then my word-of-mouth trajectory seemed unlimited. Armed with both AOL and Compuserve accounts, my post-game "dude, I was there" viral dispatches flew across my network of friends, family, business-school classmates and fellow P&G summer interns with almost unrestrained velocity.
The number of advertisers with presences in the social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are increasing faster than the lines at the supermarket when the values of the cents-off coupons are being tripled. Now, two familiar brands of baked goods sold by Kraft Foods are stepping up their marketing efforts in social media.
In what may be one of the fastest launch-to-failure paths ever taken by a major marketer, Microsoft's Kin, the company's first phone product, is being discontinued just six weeks after its May 13 launch. As first reported by Gizmodo, the phone's marketing and product development teams are being shifted to work on the launch of the Windows Phone 7.
Five years ago Huffington Post launched as a left-leaning blog, featuring commentary from Hollywood heavyweights, political pundits and its co-founder, Arianna Huffington. Today, it counts more than 20 vertical areas, from religion to tech, 50-odd editors and, by ComScore's last count, 23.2 million unique visitors. It also boasts ambitious plans for its business, having hired nine months ago Greg Coleman, a media veteran from the likes of Yahoo and AOL, as president and chief revenue officer. Ad Age sat down for breakfast with Mr. Coleman to talk about selling "social ads," the task of moderating three million comments a month and why the newest vertical will be big business.
The $20 million of second-round financing secured by the mobile networking service Foursquare will go toward staffing up on engineers, getting offices that can accommodate expanding staff and supporting its rapidly expanding audience of users. Oh yeah, and it's got a revenue model to work out too.
When it comes to social media for business, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. But to ensure results, you must align it with your overall business objectives and avoid falling for “shiny new objects” simply because they are trendy or hyped. For example, a new business or “first mover” may want to focus on establishing thought leadership, while a more mature business should aim for customer support. In all cases, creating a product that actually solves problems for customers, present and future, should be every business’s top priority — and you should be using social media to help you figure out what that product is. Below, we’ll take a closer look at how each department can blend traditional and social media to drive business goals and collaborate on a seamless customer experience.
The push by retailers into social media continues, with some even bringing out Version 2.0 or 2.5 of their presences on Web sites like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Case in point, Target, which has introduced an application on its Facebook page for its Merona line of clothing. The app is called the Merona My Look Maker and is aimed at women ages 35 and up. The goal is to give them a chance to virtually try on, and try out, Merona fashions. A twist is that the merchandise that can be played with on the app is changed constantly to reflect the Merona merchandise that is in Target stores. The looks can be shared with Facebook friends and computer users can also be connected to the Target Web site (target.com) with a “shop it now” feature if they like the looks enough to consider buying the merchandise.
Only 7% of general online shoppers visiting a site complete a purchase while 71% who came through social media will make it to point of transaction making users via social media 10 times more likely to buy. This top-line take-away is from a recent study by Payment provider Sage Pay (PSP) the UK’s fastest growing independent payment service provider which collected views and opinions of 2,000 plus online businesses operating in the UK.
Tomorrow's Web seems to be shaping up for a battle between two major players - Facebook and Google, with Apple and Microsoft holding down their own tangential fiefdoms, and smaller services, like Twitter and LinkedIn, chugging away with their utility-like products. Make no mistake of it - while there is room for innovation and success at these smaller levels, Facebook's goal is to own as much of the Web as they can, and Google would like to make sure they don't. An open Web, however you define it, is good for Google, presenting a myriad of opportunities for search ads everywhere, while a Facebook-controlled universe is not. And the latest rumors, spawning from a simple update by Digg's Kevin Rose hinting at a direct Facebook competitor, dubbed Google Me, have people wondering if Mountain View is preparing another major assault aimed to keep Zuckerberg and crew off the top pedestal.
Social data is overwhelming. More customers, buyers, and consumers are creating content everywhere they go. Companies cannot scale to match this in a 1:1 basis, and most companies are in early phases of the 8 Stages of Listening. Earlier this year, I made clear investments in researching the Social CRM space and Mobile+Social space, it’s clear that Social CRM is starting to get wind under it’s wings, and mobile/social is certainly happening at consumer level. So what do I see happening next?
Once social activism meant protest marches, civil obedience and sit-ins. But for today's 20-somethings -- sometimes called "slactivists" -- supporting or denouncing a cause is as simple as hitting the "like" button on Facebook or posting a hashtag to Twitter. And that's often where it ends.
Reasoning that dishwashing detergent isn’t likely to spur much discussion but spotty dishes is, Cascade is launching a social media campaign asking consumers to weigh in on their choice of the “messiest food pairings of all time.” The effort includes a microsite launching this week, dubbed Cascade’s Best Food Mergers Hall of Fame, and the participation of Ted Allen, host of the Food Network’s Chopped, who serves as spokesman. The goal is to highlight Cascade Complete ActionPacs’ ability to clean tough stains via the fusion of the brand’s gel and powder ingredients.
Clay Shirky looks at "cognitive surplus" -- the shared, online work we do with our spare brain cycles. While we're busy editing Wikipedia, posting to Ushahidi (and yes, making LOLcats), we're building a better, more cooperative world.
Typically, a brand event is at least months in the planning -- or if not, likely requires hyper mode by the agencies handling it. But while seat-of-the-pants activation may be inadvisable for most events, a 30-day, 69-city "grassroots" promotion tour that was part of Mountain Dew's year-long "DEWmocracy 2" campaign may point to an alternative worth considering.
We recently published "Evolve: Outlook Report 2010," our annual report on major trends and opportunities in marketing. It covers everything from looking backwards (media spends and trends from 2009) to how we see using agile development as a way to drive critical innovation. Considering all of the attention in the health and wellness space around social, I thought I'd share some thoughts we have around how to become a social brand.
To use the Web to turn luxury retailer Neiman Marcus into an authority and an educator on fashion. "We have a very robust online business, but convincing luxury houses to join us on the Web site has involved a lot of groveling," says Karen Katz, 53, who currently runs Neiman Marcus's department stores and will take over as CEO of the entire corporation in October. The next step is to better exploit social media. "People ask me, 'What keeps you up at night?' It's delivering a personal experience to every Neiman Marcus customer. It's the hardest thing we do. We have to use the digital domain to reach even more people and be a resource to get educated on fashion and luxury. We're a retailer -- and a really good retailer -- but how can we take this voice we have about fashion and luxury and extend the reach?"
There is a good chance that if you are reading this article you already have a personal Facebook account. There's also a possibility that many of you may be trying your hand at tapping into the power of the 400 million-plus members on Facebook. However, Facebook's recent announcements on how its platform is evolving may be as clear as mud. To that end, the goal of this article is to break the latest news into four areas: 1. Graph API 2. Analytics 3. Storable data 4. Social plug-ins. Within each area, we'll translate the technical into what it means (at a high level) and, most important, how brands will benefit.
No, it's not some kind of masochistic thing. It's a clever social media- and Web advertising-driven campaign designed to generate donations for a nonprofit encouraging healthier, locally sourced school meals, while simultaneously reinforcing Chipotle Mexican Grill's message that fast food needn't be "junk" food.
From now through July 11, the world will be engulfed by the sports spectacle of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The full tournament lasts a month and begins with 32 nations. But as Molly Maixner, brand marketing manager for Adidas soccer, explains, planning for and maintaining a presence at the World Cup is a 24/7/365 challenge with high stakes not only for players and coaches but also for marketers that have paid significant dollars to become official global FIFA partners.
As it becomes clear (at last!) that message control is dead, corporations in every industry are scrambling to learn about social media so they can incorporate it into their marketing mix. Fear and misconception abound. Here are the top four issues companies cite, debunked.
I will try to demonstrate here the manner in which social acts and communication result in mediated social realities. And suggest that the relational connections and value-added associations which are the byproduct of social media use create a marketplace of content whose highest value, individually motivated subjective choices, we are only beginning to capture and mine.
AT&T’s exclusive deal with Apple for the iPhone in the U.S. has proven to be something of a mixed blessing. It has delivered new customers and lined its corporate coffers, but it has simultaneously strained the very fiber of the AT&T network. Faced with new but unhappy customers and a flailing brand image, AT&T is turning to social media for a quick fix. In keeping with its "Rethink Possible" campaign, it's taking its customer care service to the social Web.
There’s no shortage of big initiatives going on at Facebook these days. We sat down with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week to talk about the state and future of Facebook and its surrounding ecosystem. Zuckerberg shared his thoughts on recent changes to the Facebook Platform, competitive dynamics he desires amongst developers, the surprising growth of the social games business on Facebook overall, his vision for Facebook Credits, market perceptions of Facebook’s revenue streams and overall revenue numbers, what the company learned from its period of serious interest in Twitter, and Facebook’s company culture around money.
How does a 69-year old candy brand stay young, fresh and vibrant? For M&M's, the answer is continuous innovation. In recent years, the candy's maker, Mars, has introduced dancing animated mascots, new colors, new flavors, holiday tie-ins, and personalized M&M's — not to mention M&M's created by consumers that feature words, colors, and even photos. Now M&M's has a new twist: pretzels. Mars is pitching M&M's Pretzel, which contain a pretzel nugget in milk chocolate covered by the famous candy shell, with its "biggest launch in a decade," says Mars VP Carole Walker.
The best kind of content you can have is a combination of what you organize -- mostly by building the context and providing something for people to do and a system to capture what they do and play it back for them -- and what people contribute in comments, reactions, posts, etc. Football is a social object. It also generates a good amount of content, on both sides of the conversation, and builds buzz in the process.
Nike’s Write The Future campaign is taking an innovative approach by merging social media and World Cup activities to forge a truly interactive experience. Fans can submit a 57-character inspirational message through Facebook, Twitter, Mxitt (a South African social network), and QQ (a Chinese social network) and choose an accompanying picture of their favorite soccer player to have it headlined on the Life Center, one of Johannesburg’s largest skyscrapers.
Virgin America has partnered with Klout, an analytics service that tracks users’ influence on Twitter (based on variables such as the quality and number of followers and retweets), to extend free flights (plus tax) to influencers in Toronto. The offer includes free round-trip airfare (Wi-Fi included) between Toronto and San Francisco or Los Angeles between June 23 and August 23. Those who received invitations for the offer — whether or not they decide to accept the flight that comes with it — were also invited to Virgin America’s Toronto Launch Event on June 29.
There’s no doubt that BP’s brand value has been affected by the explosion of its Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico in April. And as the damaged rig has been dumping thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf each day and causing massive environmental casualties, BP has been on a social media and advertising campaign to repair some of the damage.
The icing age may be drawing to a close. BrosIcingBros.com, a Web site closely associated with the popular drinking game that involves chugging warm bottles of Smirnoff Ice malt beverage, abruptly shut down last week. Though Diageo, the parent company of Smirnoff, would not confirm any action against the site, the company hinted at “measures” taken to defend their brand, signaling a departure from its earlier hands-off approach to the game, known as “icing,” amid increased media attention
For those at the seminar who want further information, or for those who couldn’t make it, here are a synopsis, a list of key points and links to the case studies that I mentioned in my seminar at Cannes today.
One of the most sought after answers in Social Media is whether or not engagement in social networks such as Twitter or Facebook directly correlates to customer acquisition, retention, and advocacy. Before we can earn customers however, we have to recognize that at any given time, they are also prospects. And, prospects require information and confidence in order to make decisions, in your favor of course. The answer to our question lies in social engagement.
Twitter this week began testing a new type of advertising: "Promoted Trends." Under the new system, brands can pay to appear below the "Trending Topics," the most talked-about terms on Twitter at any given moment. The idea is, in a word, ingenious -- the perfect way to generate revenue from the popular social network without infuriating users.
Even as we pull out of the economic downturn, many people are still curtailing spending because a new meaning of "value" is taking hold. This shift is particularly prominent among what we call the "Post-88s" -- females, age 22 and under -- who have grown up with social media. Their story of self-identity and its impact on value is so distinct from the older half of the Gen Y population that they can no longer be considered as one market.
With all the news about Facebook’s never-ending privacy problems and the exodus of angry users, has the real story been overlooked? Specifically, is Facebook limiting people’s ability to actually, well, connect?
Pepsi's social-media juggernaut continues this year with a focus on applying social efforts to the smaller brands in its portfolio. Speaking Thursday at MediaPost Communications' OMMA Social day-long forum, Bonin Bough, director of digital and social media at PepsiCo, said the company has become the biggest sponsor of some of the largest digital events, including BlogHer, Blogworld, SXSW, and Internet Week NY, where it has 125 people on staff.
U.S. consumers are spending more time online -- and devoting a growing percentage of those hours to social networking sites -- a trend expected to create a surge in spending on advertising to this audience. In May 2010, U.S. consumers spent an average of 6 hours, 13 minutes a month using social networking websites, according to a study by the Nielsen Company. And users did not restrict themselves to checking their status while at home: the average U.S. worker spent almost 5.5 hours each month visiting social network sites from the office, the research firm found.
Of course it's in Facebook's best interest to show that people who are fans spend more money. Without that, why would companies buy ads on Facebook? I just think we should think about why people become fans of a brand on Facebook. They already have an interest and desire to be more involved in the brand. They may be looking for deals or looking to contact other people who are interested in the brand. But they're already a fan. I wonder if anyone is asking what they spent on the brand before they became a fan on Facebook. That would at least give some indication as to whether or not Facebook is influencing purchasing or simply the by-product of people who are already fans.
To inform consumers about the new product launch, Microsoft and agency JWT have created a series of Web videos showing actual Beta testers telling how the new Office 2010 helps them with home, school and small-business tasks. The videos talk about how these users want to "Make it great" (the theme of the campaign).
Struggling social network MySpace is gearing up for a relaunch of the site later this year, and as part of that it has begun canvassing adland for an agency to devise a major branding campaign. Industry executives say the News Corp.-owned company recently put out a request for proposals to several creative shops, asking them to help MySpace get the word out about the relaunch, which will include new features to be introduced in stages starting this summer and a revamped site and logo in the fall.
Consumers generated word-of-mouth buzz about the brand, in many cases, without any incentives—something O’Brien sees as being crucial to long-term engagement with fans. In an interview with Brandweek, O’Brien discussed the results of both "DEWmocracy" campaigns, and how, moving forward, social media and crowdsourcing will play a bigger role in the brand’s innovation.
Brands should pay attention to Collaborative Consumption, a movement promoting a cultural shift towards “sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping.” Brands are already incorporating “peer-to-peer” exchange, from established sites such as eBay and Craigslist, to rising brands such as Zopa, Swaptree, and Zipcar. People are changing what and how they consume goods and services, largely enabled by online and wireless technology.
In the realm of marketing, Gatorade is probably best known for splashy commercials featuring some of the world’s most famous athletes. However, a new effort behind the scenes of the PepsiCo-owned sports drink maker is putting social media quite literally at the center of the way Gatorade approaches marketing. The company recently created the Gatorade Mission Control Center inside of its Chicago headquarters, a room that sits in the middle of the marketing department and could best be thought of as a war room for monitoring the brand in real-time across social media.
Zynga, the creators of the blockbuster social game FarmVille, has raised another round of funding: $147 million, seemingly all from Japanese telecommunications and media conglomerate Softbank. According to Bloomberg Businessweek and Nikkei English News, Zynga and Softbank have joined forces to spread Zynga’s wildly successful suite of social games throughout Asia. The company will focus on mobile devices — a smart move, considering that many Japanese consumers use their mobile phones as their primary access point to the web.
Last week we looked a ranking of the top ten brands on Facebook globally, based on the number of people who ‘like’ them. There were no real surprises – Starbucks came top and the rest of the top ten was filled with well-known consumer and fashion brands. The same dataset, from Famecount, can be used to look at brands on Twitter and, unlike with Facebook, it throws up some unexpected findings. For example the most followed brand in the UK isn’t a consumer or fashion brand, an airline or a bank. It’s a museum: @Tate.
Brandchannel’s weekly Digital Watch feature takes a deeper look at brands’ digital strategy. Our latest case study, McDonald’s, takes a multi-tiered approach to digital branding that cozies up to moms to reinforce its nutritional, family values.
Everything the brand was intended to represent is no less important simply because new tools and services make it easier for anyone within the company to reach and connect with markets. The contents and purpose of a brand style guide still apply. In fact, the unification of a brand and what it both evokes and symbolizes is now paramount in this conversational medium to effectively attract, earn, and inspire customers and advocates.
The World Cup has long been a social experience for fans around the world who cheer their teams on at games, bars and other public gatherings. This year, brands are betting on a different kind of social to connect with fans in ways unimaginable just four years ago, when the last Word Cup was held. Coca-Cola, Nike and Anheuser-Busch are just some of the brands that have made YouTube an important component of their World Cup ad campaigns. Others, like Visa, have added Facebook to their efforts, while still others, including Microsoft, are tapping into the still-emerging field of location-based services.
Once, TV was the symbolic water-cooler that drove consumer conversations. It still is. But the tube is being upstaged by the web, which now nearly matches it in terms of influence on conversations, according to a new study from Yahoo and Keller Fay Group. Keller Fay has taken the air out of the online buzz balloon for years with survey research finding that most discussion about brands still happen face-to-face, and are influenced far more by traditional media than what happens online. But that is changing.
In America, food isn’t just a commodity. It’s a statement about oneself that reflects a consumer’s awareness of health and sustainability issues. Kellogg has successfully navigated that mind-set by taking Special K, a brand synonymous with health, into new categories. Last year, as the recession bore its impact, Kellogg stepped up advertising behind its Special K brand, reformulated the line to contain fiber and used social media to engage weight-conscious consumers. The effort paid off: Sales of Special K, the No. 4 brand in the $6.6 billion ready-to-eat cereal category, rose 12.9 percent to $249.9 million in calendar year 2009, per market research firm SymphonyIRI. (The data excludes Walmart sales.) Most impressively, that growth outpaced private label, which had a bang-up year, growing 6.9 percent.
World Cup sponsors are tussling in a virtual battlefield to be the social-media marketing star of the global soccer championship beginning today in Johannesburg. But the early "winner" in buzz is Nike, neither a World Cup sponsor nor partner of the sport's governing body, FIFA. Social-media monitoring firm Meltwater Buzz looked at online buzz May 24 through Thursday for 11 top sponsors, partners and other key marketers and found outsider Nike had 26% vs. 20% for Adidas, a FIFA partner, and 11% for Sony, also a partner.
It's rather heartening to see 28-year-old MTV and 25-year-old VH1 hangin' tough this week in the Twittersphere, thanks to the MTV Movie Awards and the VH1 Hip Hop Honors. Both specials, it turns out, have successfully been able to transfer their historical (literal) water cooler buzz to the present-day virtual water cooler. In fact, when you think of about it, both shows, which traffic in short bursts of outrageousness and awesomeness, seem almost like they were engineered from the get-go for the Age of Twitter.
Coca-Cola and arch-rival Pepsi are very much on the same page these days — and that page is all about social media. As we've noted, Pepsi has been tapping consumers for ideas via such social engagement programs as DEWmocracy and the Pepsi Refresh Project. Pepsi Loot is its latest social and digital experiment, this time with a Foursquare-powered app to lure music fans with free songs in exchange for checking into establishments that serve Pepsi. PepsiCo's SVP and chief engagement officer, Frank Cooper, feels a company can truly innovate when it decides to "harness the power of your consumer base and allow them to lead in brand decision making." That's where Coke is headed as well.
As marketers begin to better understand and reap the benefits of online marketing, a large pervasive gap remains between the results we are able to achieve through online marketing and the budget we allocate to these efforts. This gap presents a clear and significant opportunity for those who are willing to break from traditional budgeting -- "measured increases" -- and invest in online. Despite the fact that marketers continue to gain rewards of online success, incremental increases breed incremental success and significant opportunity is left on the table.
World Cup mania is about to begin and that means one thing: it’s a social media branding opportunity! On Friday, in time for the first kickoff, Bing is going to release a World Cup badge on Foursquare which can be unlocked by people who follow Bing on the service.
When I was in Shanghai a few of weeks ago, I was invited to sit with some of Asia’s top bloggers to listen to an interactive marketing agency explaining their social media marketing strategy. There was much talk about creating conversations through blogger outreach and, I guess, the idea was to be transparent about what they did and how they acted with new media publishers.
As BP's shares continue sliding in trading on London's FTSE, its social media outreach and search engine marketing is being criticized as off the mark. Part of the problem, argues the Financial Times, is the British oil giant's "cultural failings" and "shortage of native knowledge of America and how it responds to crisis has been painfully exposed."
I may be looking too hard for hopeful signs but I think we may be at the threshold of a reformation in advertising, which will mean larger changes in the communications world overall. Here are two of them and why I think they’re important (and somewhat related).
BP hasn't asked Twitter to shut down @PBGlobalPR, but it appears to have asked that the site comply with Twitter's terms of service, and more clearly label the feed as parody. Last night the bio of @BPGlobalPR was changed to: "We are not associated with Beyond Petroleum, the company that has been destroying the Gulf of Mexico for 50 days."
Long gone are the days when 'online' was synonymous with social isolation and loneliness. In fact, we're now witnessing the exact opposite: technology is driving people to connect and meet up en masse with others, in the 'real world'. It makes for an interesting, easily-digested trend, begging to be turned into new services for your customers.
Pepsi's social media-backed community change effort, dubbed “Refresh Project,” is off to a good start. So far, the soft beverage giant has funded more than 100 projects and given back approximately $5 million to local communities, according to Ana Maria Irazabal, marketing director for Pepsi. With new entries and winners announced every month, the brand is on track to hit its goal of $20 million in grant money this year. "Refresh Project" is also helping Pepsi expands its already massive presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social nets. The initiative has sparked human interaction and is affecting change in communities, Irazabal said.
Pepsi wants to get in on the ground floor of the next FourSquare. The marketer, which has been outspoken about its commitment to social media, crowdsourcing even its biggest marketing program through the Pepsi Refresh Project, is hooking up with a venture-capital firm to do just that. Pepsi has partnered with VC firm Highland Capital Partners and Mashable to search out the best and brightest new ideas in social media. Dubbed an "innovation-incubator program," PepsiCo10 will identify as many as 10 promising entrepreneurial groups, assign them an industry mentor, and attach them to pilot programs with various PepsiCo brands.
The social networking audience in the US has reached critical mass. eMarketer estimates that 57.5% of all US Internet users, or 127 million people, will use a social network at least once a month in 2010. By 2014, nearly two-thirds of Internet users will be on board. Marketers have been chasing this audience for several years, but the question remains: Do consumers notice, or care? “Those who still think that social network users are too busy engaging with friends to notice marketers must change their viewpoint,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Brand Interactions on Social Networks.” “Brand interactions are real, valuable and growing. “ According to a February 2010 survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey, a market research firm, 33% of Facebook users have become fans of brands on the network.
By now, we all know that we live in a world in which word-of-mouth rules. The recommendation of a friend or family member outweighs anything a brand may have to say for itself. As a result, marketers from around the world are racing to measure the degree in which their customers, and the market at large, is likely to recommend them. And, more importantly, what they should do to be more liked in the social media space that is called my kitchen.
A new survey of brands on social media finds Starbucks to be the most popular consumer brand on the social Web, based on an analysis that indexes consumer brands against the most popular personal brand on the planet: Lady Gaga.
It's not enough to just chase after new statistics for social media to ensure today's brands soar in this increasingly digital environment. Regardless of their product, CMOs must become obsessed with three kinds of data to make sure any social media campaign contributes to the company's profitability.
In between posting updates about their lives, fascinating or otherwise, users of social media seem to have plenty of time to opine about brands. In a Harris Poll released this week, 34 percent of adults who use social media said they have employed them "as an outlet to rant or rave about a company, brand or product."
Yahoo Inc. will soon roll out new ways to view content from Facebook Inc. across its websites, according to people briefed on the matter, as it aims to prevent Yahoo users from defecting to the social network. As part of a partnership with Facebook announced last December, Yahoo will begin allowing users to view their stream of Facebook updates—which Facebook calls the "news feed"—from Yahoo.com and Yahoo Mail, these people said. The company will also more easily allow users to post actions they take on Yahoo, such as uploading a photo to Yahoo's photo service Flickr, back on Facebook, these people said.
Newell Rubbermaid Senior VP-Chief Marketing Officer Ted Woehrle admits it wasn't always easy going from a world of big budgets at his alma mater, Procter & Gamble Co., to a world of smaller brands with smaller budgets at Newell Rubbermaid in 2007. Nearly three years in, Mr. Woehrle discusses how he's beaten the two-year CMO curse, how he's helped build a marketing culture at a product-focused company and why he's willing to wait for social-media programs to develop organically without big-budget pushes.
Even before you have your social media monitoring in place, any brand can benefit from working out a plan for what you will do with all this information you are going to gather. Dashboards and reports can be useful, but the ability to take actions or make decisions using this information is much more useful for any brand. What you do with your social media monitoring is as important, if not more important, than getting the monitoring in place in the first place.
AT&T Inc.’s decision to scrap unlimited data plans for new customers has prompted a backlash from bloggers and consumers like Danette Collins. “As soon as I can get out of the AT&T plan, I’ll switch to Verizon,” said Collins, a finance and operations manager in Portland, Oregon, who has AT&T service for her iPhone. “They’ve just shot themselves in the foot.”
Will the idea of a "generation gap" eventually atrophy into obsolescence? We see this not only in the video-game world, but also in other brands: moms and daughters with matching Ugg boots, Juicy Couture sweatsuits, Abercrombie hoodies and Coach handbags. Fathers and sons comparing fantasy football rankings on matching iPhones or killing precious productivity hours on YouTube. Teachers and students sipping from matching Starbucks latte cups or ordering the same items from Pinkberry. Moms and daughters rooting feverishly for their favorite "American Idol" contestants or shaking their heads in utter disgust at the shameless and hygienically dubious conduct of the latest batch of "The Real World" participants.
Market research firm Harris Interactive has launched Research Lifestreaming, a research platform that looks to give clients a full view of panel members’ online and offline lives by connecting participants’ social media activities — collected and categorized from sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn — with survey responses and behavioral data. The idea is to link traditional panelist profiles to panelist social networking updates.
If you intend to build your business, it’s important that you keep your head well fed. I do this in a variety of ways, including reading, watching informative video podcasts, listening to audiobooks, attending events, connecting with intelligent people, and testing out ideas in various labs. The other day I released my Escape Velocity Bookshelf, as yet another effort to help give you ideas on what to read. You can click into the bookshelf, but don’t forget to check the comments on the post, as there’s even more meat there.
MTV Networks wants to establish its Web properties as the go-to outlets for fans to track all of their favorite artists’ social media activities. The company today will introduce channels on MTV.com, VH1.com and CMT.com under the brand "Posted." These venues will focus on specific artists for one-month periods, aggregating Twitter and Facebook updates and Foursquare recommendations, along with original and archival photos and videos.
The Pew Research Center released an interesting study last week that offers some sobering — if unsurprising — insights for the news business. Researchers examined top news stories in the mainstream press as well as what news got traction on blogs, Twitter and YouTube. A main finding was that what’s hot on social media differs — a lot — from what leads in the mainstream press. But what’s even more interesting, I think, is that what’s popular on one form of social media differs significantly from what’s trendy on another. For example, Twitter’s domain is technology, not surprisingly. Blogs and the mainstream press focus more on politics and government. Also not a shocker. As my kids might say: “No duh.” But what isn’t so obvious is what this might mean. I’ve written before about how I believe the real reason many people don’t subscribe to news online — or in print — is about commitment, not money. This study crystallizes my thoughts. I suggest these findings illustrate the radically different way today’s consumers think of news, compared with the past. It’s not brand based. It’s not even platform based. It’s based on niche, which many have said before. But the niche isn’t just in the content or the subject matter; it’s in the mechanism of transmission.
All of these are disconnected events; a Polaroid snapshot of our psychology at a single moment in time. Some of these memes are ephemeral. Others may be lasting. However, our success as marketers increasingly hinges on having a deep, real-time understanding of our networked environment and how these themes can impact our programs. Enter situational awareness--an essential skill every CMO-level executive and his staff must build and evolve.
I would encourage marketers to graduate to Social Media 3.0, an entirely new dynamic that requires a high degree of professionalism, new strategic platforms, new metrics for success, new monitoring tools, cross-disciplined planning and an open-mindedness to social media in just about any business category. To that end, here are four courses of action that marketers should consider to really make the grade in social media.
Despite social media marketing’s sizable popularity, business-to-business (B2B) companies are still fairly new to the discipline. According to a November 2009 survey from Business.com, 73% of B2B respondents who were using social media had less than two years of social media marketing experience. But now that social media has caught on in the sector, spending forecasts suggest that big increases are coming.
Facebook is the most important site for marketers' social media marketing efforts, according to Omniture's 2010 "Online Analytics Benchmark Survey." From a sample of 600 marketers, 69 percent claimed to be using social media in their marketing efforts. Of those respondents, 63 percent ranked Facebook as the most important site for that activity, followed by blogs at 40 percent, and "other" sites at 34 percent. Just 28 percent of respondents ranked Twitter as most important.
A recent survey released by Edelman examined the evolution of consumers’ perceptions of the Internet as an entertainment medium, and not just a source of information. While this broad statement may seem obvious to many working directly in the digital media space, the implications of this evolution for how consumers define and consume entertainment – and the factors they value and are inclined to pay for – merit further consideration for any brand looking to entertain and engage consumers.
The Walt Disney Company has created what it believes is a first-of-its-kind application allowing Facebook users to buy tickets to “Toy Story 3” without leaving the social networking site and while, at the same time, prodding their friends to come along.
After learning how to market themselves through tweets and status updates, some small companies are taking the next step: selling directly to consumers via social-networking sites. Merchants on Facebook and MySpace are adding e-commerce stores to their fan pages, hoping users will scan lists of for-sale items and services—such as floral bouquets, hand-crafted jewelry and spa treatments—and click a button to add them to online shopping carts.
Social media might be old. It might even be a dead buzzword. That’s why you need to paint a picture that’s more meaningful and encompasses what “social media” as a label really is. Some of us have been thrust into social media simply because the online landscape showed potential for online conversations. Others have been there for over a decade. Regardless of the many years of experience you have in the online space, the ideas behind social media and social media marketing are applicable to everyone. Let’s take a look at some lessons, takeaways, and tips.
Judy Hu, GE's global director of advertising and branding, on stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference last week, discussed a new effort by GE to crowdsource ideas for how to "avoid the lame and embrace the awesome" in digital media. Over the next four days, GE collected 60 suggestions, ranging from ideas for ad campaigns to product concepts. The effort is the latest example of a worldwide brand testing the crowdsourcing waters. The move has put the spotlight back on the ongoing debate about the value of such efforts -- including to creators.
Can social media be used for branding? Or to state the question in an even clearer and more tangible way, "Can a marketer abandon conventional broadcast methods and use social media to build reach and drive brand awareness?" First, let's define the terms "branding" and "social media." Through careless overuse, these fundamental advertising concepts have been deprived of their essential essence.
The statistic is the modern equivalent of water cooler conversation, and is measured by the number of online interactions posted and read about a given show. Moreover, other shows with substantial online buzz did not have commensurate Nielsen ratings. Only four of the 10 shows in the social media ranking were also in the top 10 for ratings.
Everyone is talking about the new Nike World Cup spot, and with good reason: It's a beautifully told story that transcends media formats to deliver a truly emotional and inspirational experience. In 30 seconds, it appears that Nike finally cracked the code by combining compelling narrative with the power of digital distribution. And, Wieden & Kennedy showed us what it means for a brand to truly participate in culture. Or, did it? Is this really still a way to build a strong digital brand?
Coke and Pepsi are very active in social media, and I think their hard work is helping to build up a bank of trust with their audiences. As has been widely reported, Pepsi decided not to use its Super Bowl ad budget to try to create a set of iconic commercials. Instead, it used it to launch its "Refresh Everything" campaign in which it asked its "fans" to come up with ideas to "refresh the world" in the categories of health, the planet, art and culture, food and shelter, neighborhoods, and education. Fans submit descriptions of their ideas. Pepsi screens and posts them on the website. Visitors vote on them. Then, after considering the votes, Pepsi selects which ones to fund. Grants ranging from $5,000 to $250,000, and Pepsi plans to spend a total of $15.6 million on the year-long program, which ends next January.
In today’s discussions about privacy, “youth don’t care about privacy” is an irritating but popular myth. Embedded in this rhetoric is the belief that youth are reckless risk-takers who don’t care about the consequences of their actions. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
British Airways cabin crew are on strike for the second of what could be a number of strikes this year. Last minute talks were taking place over the weekend until they broke up. And BA CEO, Willie Walsh, is blaming the collapse of the talks on Twitter.
Gerd Leonhard is CEO of The Futures Agency, and has been described as "one of the leading media futurists in the world" for his views on the development of next-generation business models in the content, communications & technology industries.
Coke & Pepsi are very active in social media and I think their hard work is helping to build up a “trust bank” with their audience. As has been widely reported, Pepsi took their Superbowl ad budget and instead of creating a set of iconic commercials they launched their “Refresh Everything” campaign, in which they asked their audience to come up with ideas to “refresh the world”, in the categories of health, the planet, art & culture, food & shelter, neighborhoods and education.
Social Media marketing is not new nor is it widely established or even understood. However in 2010, it will completely transform the way businesses attract customers and the way consumers find the businesses and services that matter to them. And like that, an overnight landmark, which really is over a decade in the making, will challenge business owners, more so than today, as they now compete for the future, right now. Social Networks are no longer the playgrounds we once perceived. The simple truth is this; social networking is not for just for kids or people with too much free time on their hands.
This year, Social Media marketing will gain significant support in resources and investment across businesses of all shapes and sizes. So what’s new? Now, a line is being drawn between edglings and underlings. Where we choose to stand affects the presence of our brand and value in new markets and our ability to capture attention where and how it is focused – both online and in the real world.
You would think that BP would be fretting over the hijacking of its brand on Twitter, because, in less than a week, the handle @bpglobalpr has amassed a following double the size of BP's real feed. But part of the reason the impostor is still going strong is the company hasn't contacted Twitter to take it down, and it might not, BP told Ad Age today.
Social media use is exploding, but ad spending in the sector continues to be a blip on the radar for most brands. Razorfish, one of the largest digital ad spenders, compiled data on its 2009 digital ad spending. It found that social media display advertising made up just 3 percent of its clients' budgets. Non-display in social media accounted for another 1 percent. The figures pale in comparison to the time spent online. According to comScore, U.S. Internet users spent 11 percent of their time online in 2011 on social media sites.
This post is about the future of communication. We’ve had one-to-one communication forever. Mass-media created a revolution in one-to-many communication. And the internet has shown us the power and possibility of many-to-many communication. We are slowly starting to see the formation of a new kind of communication, which – for lack of a better term – I’m calling one-to-some communication. The promise of the social web is a fundamentally new form of communication in which each of us can move fluidly between one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many communication with each bit of information we share.
Though it wasn't from the mouth of the Zuck, Facebook's head of public policy, a man by the name of Tim Sparapani, revealed soon-to-be released plans for a simpler web of Facebook settings. As a primer, you can check out this insane infographic of Facebook's privacy settings, compiled by the New York Times--it's ridiculously overwhelming, and many users simply can't be bothered to learn all the ins and outs of such a complex system.
Aside from being "against the rules," there are some real problems with younger kids using sites designed for teens and adults. For one thing, signing up requires lying, which is bad in itself. But, as many adults are finding out, knowing how to protect one's privacy on a site like Facebook can be daunting and most young children are not developmentally ready to use these services. There are other issues as well; including how easy it is for kids to cyberbully each other on social-networking sites. Finally, sites like Facebook just don't have the resources for younger children, including the types of videos, games, and experiences that 6- to 10-year-olds find compelling. Enter Togetherville.com, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based company that has built what founder Mandeep Singh Dhillon calls a "neighborhood" aimed at "kids and their grownups."
We blog a lot about Ford around here, mostly because they’ve done a stellar job of integrating social media both into their marketing campaigns and into their vehicles. But as of today, there’s a new sheriff in town: Chevrolet. With the Volt, Chevrolet’s new electric vehicle, the company is rolling out an excellent integration with the Android OS and OnStar that will allow for voice-activated features and mobile-to-car communication.
Social media is reinventing marketing, communications, and the dissemination of information. While businesses now have access to these rich channels, the true promise of social media lies in the direct connections between people who represent companies and the people who define markets of interest. Today, many businesses approach this with the establishment of social media guidelines and policies. This is indeed an important step, and not one worth economizing. But it’s also not enough. I highly recommend establishing official procedures that remind representatives of the importance and privilege of engagement.
In the age of social networks, content evolves hand-in-hand with the mode of dissemination. What matters is pass-along potential, and nothing gets passed along like humor, particularly sarcasm or the thrill of the 'gotcha' moment. Sound bites have always been part of political communication, but decisions about which bites to air used to be in the hands of at least half-way responsible and accountable editors. Now everybody has a say in deciding what gets disseminated, and everybody seems to like passing along the put-down more than the uplift. My interest, as a marketing professor, is in the way this shift is playing out in the world of brands.
That social media is a powerful tool for raising awareness is not new news. But its increasing power is leading some advertisers to reconsider how they plan and measure traditional ad campaigns as they increasingly look to so-called earned media impressions as being as important as primary paid media. The promise of what some are calling "free media" is that it's more credible than paid placements, particularly when it comes from consumers speaking to other consumers.
P&G's new Pampers Dry Max diapers are under siege from a grassroots social media campaign accusing the product of causing chemical burns. Two class action lawsuits have been filed in Ohio. The company has denied all claims, both legal and anecdotal. The marketing trades are covering it as an emerging case for "the power of the democratized web" and I'm sure it'll appear in every digital marketing agency pitch that gets peddled this summer. I wonder if it isn't an example of the madness of crowds...both those running corporations and incensed consumers.
Greenpeace's organized brandjacking of Nestle SA's Facebook page is making CMOs afraid of social media. There is good reason for this: The power has clearly turned to those that participate, and now detractors are starting to organize using the same organized marketing campaigns that companies create.
Amid the recent rash of Pampers diapers social-media stories, a new conversational project by rival brand Huggies has gotten somewhat lost in the mix. Which is a shame, because Pampers has demonstrated the need to listen and adapt to customer conversations in response to a crisis. But Huggies is embracing social-media research, community building, and collaboration in a manner that shows social media's positive potential rather than its liability.
Today NBC is unveiling a brand new network loyalty program in which social media plays a staring role. Fan It is a social media platform with myNBC (NBC’s online community for fans), Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Foursquare integration that rewards users who promote, interact and discuss NBC shows. The endeavor is a network-wide initiative designed to leverage the presence of show fans on social networks and incentivize them with points for engaging with content — i.e. watching videos on NBC.com, Liking shows, chatting and recruiting friends. Points can be redeemed for goodies like NBC merchandise, show previews, virtual goods, badges and sweepstakes entries.
Bill Cosby is bringing the giggles back to jiggling desserts. The comedian is reteaming with Jell-O after a decade-long break as its pitchman, only this time around he's not in front of the camera, as he was from 1974 to 1999. Cosby is executive producing its new "Hello Jell-O" campaign which kicks off today with a new logo and series of spots, a multimillion-dollar effort that's the gelatin and pudding brand's biggest marketing effort today
The internet changes over time. That the technology has evolved is obvious. But how we use the internet is also changing. So we have two conceptual distinctions — technology and people — that we frequently conflate into one idea of the internet. This post is about teasing apart the objective and subjective dimensions of social media, to examine what’s behind the relational economy we now live in, and its particular mode of production. All commerce and much personal and social utility implied by use of social media owes to the subjective value added to what was, previously, a mode of production of information (publishing).
This is one of those important posts to forward to your marketing team, agency partners, and to Facebook themselves. While there’s been plenty of coverage about user privacy concerns, attention on Facebook’s changes on brands hasn’t been adequately covered, this analysis is intended to unravel what’s at stake –and what brands should do. I’ve spoken to a handful of brands and their representatives to learn what’s eating at them.
Facebook’s used to this type of uproar after it changes something, but in my time tracking Facebook, I’ve never seen anything like this. Not even the Facebook News Feed fiasco of 2006 had U.S. Senate scrutiny. Facebook Open Graph has clearly struck a nerve with a lot of people. Is Facebook betraying its users, though? Has Facebook compromised user privacy? After taking a lot of time to absorb the arguments and the big picture, I’m weighing in, and I doubt that my conclusion is going to be popular.
In the world of automotive quality, consumer perception may lag reality, sometimes by years, but it also trumps reality when it comes to determining things like resale value. Ford's resale value is up, and the latest Automotive Lease Guide (ALG) study of consumer attitude suggests public opinion is driving the change. Jim Farley, Ford's head of marketing, was on the horn this morning to talk about how Ford now tops the industry in how much it has improved in ALG's Automotive Consumer Attitude Survey. The study measures a brand's Perceived Quality Score (PQS) relative to the industry. Ford and Ford trucks are in first and third place, with Kia in the middle and Hyundai at number four.
Foursquare has scored itself another partnership, this time with NBC’s The Today Show. Foursquare users who head to 30 Rock this summer for the Toyota Concert Series on Today will be able to check in, earn badges and compete for mayorships. The Today Show has its own branded Foursquare partner page that you can also visit to get music tips and other assorted information.
Defensive branding is protecting and defending brand equity and reputation in an increasingly consumer-driven environment. Think media planning plus actuarial viral risk management. It's first strategic, then tactical. The logic goes something like this: Sandbag before you sell. Protect before you promote. Defend before you dance. Self-critique before you self-destruct.
FacebookSearch simply takes those public status updates and makes them searchable, outside of Facebook. The guys behind it Peter Burns and Will Moffat have posted a simple explanation: “This is a simple example of just how open facebook has made your information. This data is wide open, and this is one of the least scary uses that anyone will make. If nothing changes, it’s only to get worse.” There’s an interesting discussion over at Hacker News on the morality of what they are doing.
With all the hand-wringing over the fate of magazine brands, Facebook wants to help magazines survive -- and its users stay more informed. Starting in August, Facebook will promote magazine brands' content and subscriptions through its news feed thanks to a landmark partnership with mega-magazine publisher Time Inc. that aims to reach new readers through social media networks – in this case, Facebook “friends.”
Listen up, journalists — your cellphone is more than just a channel by which to reach sources, your editor and sustenance (you have the local Thai joint on speed dial, don’t front): It’s an essential tool for both local news-gathering and dissemination.
Forget LiveStrong bands. The hottest thing for kids are Silly Bandz, ZanyBandz and Crazy Bandz -- and now brands are getting involved. The latest kid craze is virally setting off retail madness, skipping from state to state aided by social media, instant messaging and texting. "It's akin to what happened with Beanie Babies and Webkinz across our stores," said a spokeswoman for Hallmark, which is having trouble keeping Silly Bandz in stock.
We gathered up expert advice from Tim Bray of Google (Google), Guy Kawasaki of Alltop (formerly Apple), Doug Ulman of Livestrong, John Battelle of Federated Media and Steve Rubel of Edelman on the why and the how when it comes to C-level executives and social media. Their tips and advice range from practice to crucial and point to the need for C-suite executives of this generation to heed social media.
Facebook Inc. is catching up to rivals Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in selling display ads. In the first quarter, Facebook pulled ahead of Yahoo for the first time and delivered more banner ads to its U.S. users than any other Web publisher, according to market-research firm comScore Inc.
The older I get, the more I become convinced that the average person in our "sound byte society" has the attention span of a gnat. Worse, I fear that in making this assertion, I may be describing myself. I've traditionally been a bit of a cynic for the latest fads. My elders drilled it into me that you "stick with something that works." Yet despite being the immediate past president of the Marketing Research Association (MRA) and a staunch advocate of classical marketing research methodologies, I'm actually starting to buy into some of the "buzz du jour" about social media as a viable tool for measuring fan sentiment.
At its recent F8 developer conference, Facebook announced a raft of new developments which have been causing ripples in the worlds of technology and marketing ever since. The one that arguably has the biggest implications is the roll-out of social plug-ins and the Open Graph API (you can read my thoughts on that here if you’re interested.) However it’s another announcement – the ditching of the term “fans”, which could have a bigger impact on advertisers.
Did you know there is a Center for Digital Democracy? And that yesterday the CDD asked the Food and Drug Administration to enforce its rules regarding drug marketing, especially in the social media arena? The CDD's argument: if a pharmaceutical company cannot sufficiently represent the dangers and risks of a particular drug in 140 characters or less (which is impossible), they shouldn’t be able to tweet about it.
We have confirmed with Twitter that beta testing of its new business features, dubbed the “Twitter Business Center,” has begun. According to the company, “only a handful of accounts have these features presently,” but it will expand on a gradual business to more accounts. One of the biggest additions: the ability for businesses to accept Twittter direct messages, even from people they don’t follow.
In a social economy where attention is a precious commodity, the ability to strip a social object down to its essence to capture attention has less to do with compacting character counts and more to do with the art and science of packaging and presenting content so that it is immediately compelling, simple to grasp and appreciate and in turn, share across social graphs. For participants in the socialization of media, an ever-thinning attention span is forcing the rapid evolution of our ability to multitask – albeit at shallow depths. Cognition is thereby stimulated by relevance, simplicity, and in social networks, the objects and content screened and shared by peers.
Understanding your customers is general is obviously incredibly important, but you should also understand how your customers are using social media. This is something that often is overlooked when we advise companies on how to get started with social media. We teach them of the value of monitoring social media, of tracking company and industry mentions. Of knowing what's being said and where it is being said. But that's only half the battle. The 'why' gives meaning to the numbers. What social tools are your customers using? Why are they using them? What information are they looking for, and how do they want it to be delivered to them?
Facebook is preparing to launch location-based status updates for its users. But the social network is also planning to offer it to marketers, including McDonald's. As early as this month, the social-networking site will give users the ability to post their location within a status update. McDonald's, through digital agency Tribal DDB, Chicago, is building an app with Facebook would allow users to check in at one of its restaurants and have a featured product appear in the post, such as an Angus Quarter Pounder, say executives close to the deal.
CMOs are entering a new period of organizational change as they restructure to minimize costs, maximize flexibility and place digital and social media at the heart of their global strategies. In fact, 75% of chief marketers are either restructuring their marketing organizations now or will do so by the end of 2011, according to a new Forrester Research survey.
The digital landscape is being reshaped by the news that Facebook is opening up its social graph. Twitter, too, has made waves by acquiring companies that made third-party services for Twitter. But if you take a closer look, this is part of a more macro trend that transcends two social platforms--despite their emerging dominance. That macro trend is ubiquitous sharing: What are you doing? Where are you doing it? Who are you doing it with? What do you like? These used to be things we kept to ourselves or shared with our friends and family. Now we're willing to broadcast them to whomever is willing to listen.
Google is making some very noticeable changes to its familiar search results pages, rolling out the changes gradually on Tuesday and Wednesday. The search giant is adding a new left-handed navigation panel to most results pages, adding some visual clutter at the expense of offering users tools to help more narrowly focus their query. What will show up on this new left panel depends what a person is looking for.
Consumer groups have been fighting what they see as the prevalence of online tracking, where online advertising is selected for a certain user — perhaps because he once visited a company’s home page, perhaps because he showed an interest in automobiles or baby products, or perhaps because he is a middle-aged man. As opposition has intensified, companies like Google and Yahoo have adjusted their own privacy policies in response to consumer concern. Industry groups, while arguing that free Internet content depends on this type of sophisticated advertising, have issued their own self-regulatory principles.
Our tastes have expanded. Not just with food, but how we consume information, relationships, and experiences. Our expectations are on the rise. Social media storytelling is changing things. We demand communication that doesn’t insult our intelligence. Our instincts tell us we’re better than this. And so increasingly we opt-out, filter, and turn off the noise. We have settings for that. The message better be worthy of our attention.
Harry Winsor, an 8-year-old from Boulder, Colo., loves airplanes. He flies with his father, John Winsor, the chief executive of the ad agency Victors & Spoils, to places like Europe and Africa regularly. Recently, he began designing his own airplanes, and decided to send one such drawing to Boeing with the suggestion that they manufacture his plane.
While non-profits may not allocate extra funds to stakeholders, charitable organizations still have a bottom line — to spread their message and accomplish their mission. To do this, strategic planning, which includes digital outreach, is involved. That’s why a growing number of non-profits are using social media to draw attention to their goals.
With the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico’s oil spill seeming to worsen by the day, expressions of outrage and anguish over the disaster are mounting in the online universe. In addition to thousands of stories on the spill from traditional media sources, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are alight with posts from government, the oil industry and citizens around the globe.
This question was asked recently at LinkedIn: “Is email marketing dead?” How many times have I heard that before or, even worse, the pronouncement of its demise? The first time I recall hearing the statement was at Blog Business Summit in 2005 when Chris Pirillo made it during a session. (He later recanted the statement, to some extent at least.) Certainly, there have been numerous challengers to email marketing’s throne, not the least of which is social media. However, email is still a vibrant, growing medium that has a future for a number of reasons.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: "Before you go any further in your presentation, I'm going to need you to discuss your process for measuring ROI." It's long been the question that most agencies dread because they have failed to come up with a concise and coherent answer. PR and social media agencies, in particular, are viewed as cost centers as opposed to profit drivers, and fumbling that question confirms the suspicion of many executives. In the case of pharmaceutical marketing, the conversation of how to implement social media often starts and ends with that very question.
Based on data collected and analyzed using Google Ad Planner, I recently discovered that in Social Media, women rule. Across almost every major social network, the balance was revealing and in some cases, profound.
Over the last month I have given a presentation entitled "Marketing in the Moment" at several different interactive conferences, including the SMX Toronto personalization panel, the PubCon Dallas real-time and social panel, and at Search Insider Summit Marketing Strategy panel in Captiva (click here to view the presentation on Slideshare). Today I want to elaborate on this presentation, and discuss how search and social are becoming imperative elements of a holistic marketing strategy, and how organizations must embrace the concept of marketing as an "in the moment" medium.
And now competing for our already frazzled attention, two somewhat contradictory studies: one by Pew Internet Project and the other from BlogHer and iVillage. Pew's latest study on how the 18-29 demographic are using social media found a decline in blog-writing and -reading by this text-happy generation. BlogHer and iVillage, meanwhile, report that millennials are the most avid blog-writers and -readers. Let's break this down.
When it comes to Twitter and brands, consumers who are also Twitter users have plenty to say on the subject. We’ve interviewed a few folks, analyzed a couple of streams, and come up with ten common, recurring requests and complaints from users who’ve engaged with brands on Twitter. As it turns out, the rules they expect brands to follow are distinct from the code they expect “normal” users to follow. Check out these dicta and caveats, and let us know your experiences and best practices in the comments.
You seemingly can’t live without social media these days, or at least, that is what many in our industry believe. Why? Because “everybody” is using it. Everybody is communicating, “everybody is a publisher.” But does that mean that every European is publishing through social media? Well, not exactly. Yes, Europeans are online en masse and are using social media in big numbers. But how are they using social media?
Launching its universal "like" button, Facebook extended its tentacles across the internet today, setting up pipes to gather user data from anywhere on the web. And now that users can add what topics, products or content they like to their Facebook profiles, the social-networking site is sitting on a data treasure chest. At the F8 developers conference today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a platform that aims to connect the entire internet through the social network. With those like buttons appearing on major publisher sites directly after the announcement, users can thumbs-up individual pages with one click and publish that to Facebook. Meanwhile, that Like is stored for later.
Today at Facebook’s F8 conference), Mark Zuckerberg laid out his plan to turn the Web into “instantly social experiences.”
Today marks yet another important era in Facebook’s saga, they are expected to make a big push to extend the Facebook experience to every webpage. Today, I’ll be attending the f8 developer conference hosted by Facebook, they’re anticipated to make some key announcements around new programs for developers to take part in. I’ll be live blogging from the keynote, and will give my take on what it means.
I was in a Barnes & Noble store recently and noticed a shelf area called “Trends in Business.” On it was one book after the other touting the virtues of social media for marketing purposes. What concerned me was that most of the titles related directly to tools. At least six of them were about Facebook, another six about Twitter, two were focused on blogging, there was one about YouTube, and so on. This was evidence of a focus that, to me, is unhealthy. Consumers are putting much more emphasis on the “how” and less on the “why” … tactics before strategy. I think that is a mistake. It’s classic putting the cart before the horse. Unless you understand why you’re doing something, it makes little sense to learn how.
Own an iPad? Downloaded the eBay app? You should. It is by far the best way to experience eBay. Watch Movies? Seen the IMDB App? It is so much better than the website. Use Twitter? 81,43% chance you are not using Twitter.com but an App. It seems that more and more Apps are replacing websites in a time when more and more applications are moving to the web. What exactly do we want? Email went from the Application to the Cloud with Gmail, and we love it. The same for Flickr for photos and Google Docs for documents. At the same time Twitter started out as a website but quickly moved to applications on multiple platforms. It is clear that just moving everything to the web isn’t the ultimate solution for everything. That eBay and IMDB app are clear examples.
To many, the process of developing a successful product can be a mystery. Sometimes companies will spend months of development time to create a product that doesn’t reflect the needs or the scope of its intended market. And other times, successful products are developed completely on accident. Because of this, it can often seem impossible to develop successful products. However, if one takes the time to listen to their marketplace and plan the development process accordingly, they are more likely to succeed.
With about half of Facebook’s 400 million users checking in daily, the social networking company has established itself as one of the Web’s most popular destinations. Now Facebook is intensifying its efforts to expand its empire beyond its Web site; the company wants to turn scores of sites across the Internet into satellites where users will be able to interact with their Facebook friends.
It pays to have fans on Facebook if you want your ads to work there too, according to the first public study to come out of the collaboration of Nielsen Co. and Facebook. The study of more than 800,000 Facebook users and ads from 14 brands in a variety of categories shows a marked increase in ad recall, awareness and purchase intent when home-page ads on the social network mention friends of users who've become fans of the brand in the ad.
The State and Future of Twitter was revealed to the world at the Chirp Conference. Developers, futurists, reporters, investors, stakeholders, and businesses convened at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, making the journey from all over the world to witness history in the making.
Last week, neuromarketing firm Neurofocus released summary results of a study that compared the performance of the same ad when run on television and on two Internet websites, Facebook and a website controlled by the advertiser. The commercial tested was “Trip For Life,” part of VISA’s multimedia campaign built around the 2010 Winter Olympics.
It has become standard practice for big brands and businesses to setup shop on Twitter and Facebook and use the social mediums to connect with customers. That’s all yesterday’s news now. But the early adopter brands who paved the way for the rest to follow suit have become the success stories that the media, the public and the web companies in the limelight turn to first.
It’s undeniable: Foursquare (Foursquare) has been on fire in a way that no startup since Twitter (Twitter) has come close to achieving. It’s changing the world and acquiring new users at a rapid place, so perhaps that’s why it doesn’t surprise us to learn that Yahoo is trying aggressively to acquire Foursquare. According to Kara Swisher of AllThingsD, Foursquare and its founder Dennis Crowley have two options: raise more money from venture capital firms that would value the company at around $100 million, or be acquired by Yahoo for $125 million or more.
Your brand has 10,000 Twitter followers and 2,000 fans on Facebook. Does that mean your social media marketing efforts are paying off? Maybe not. As the old adage goes, it’s quality, not quantity, that counts. Recent data that Meteor Solutions collected from across more than 20 brand marketer clients shows that the type of friends, fans and followers a brand amasses on social media sites matters more than the number. On average, approximately 1% of a site’s audience generates 20% of all its traffic through sharing of the brand’s content or site links with others. And these “influencers” drive an even higher share of conversion. These very important Internet users can directly influence 30% or more of overall end actions on brand websites by recommending the brand’s site, products or promotions to friends.
Last week, neuromarketing firm Neurofocus released summary results of a study that compared the performance of the same ad when run on television and on two Internet websites, Facebook and a website controlled by the advertiser. The commercial tested was “Trip For Life,” part of VISA’s multimedia campaign built around the 2010 Winter Olympics.
To celebrate the release of Engage!, I was recently asked to share my thoughts on how social media impacts the advertising landscape for the current issue of Winning the Web, a popular magazine related to Web marketing. While the discussion opens with a review of the state and future of online advertising, the discussion also looks at the overall tectonic shift in new media and the profound opportunities that are unfolding.
In Part One, we focused on how to make your brand findable and shareable in social media. A white paper by Gigya validates the shift to, and resulting importance of, social search and its dependence on crowd participation. Online businesses must optimize in order to earn referral traffic from social networks. With the advent of social feeds — a live stream of friends’ activity shared on social networks like Facebook and Twitter — consumers can more easily rely on trusted personal relationships to determine what’s worthwhile to read, watch, play and buy online. Honestly, there are too many top 10 lists, and I subscribe to the Spinal Tap school of numeration, so this list will go to “11!” Here are 11 steps for optimizing your brand for sharing and social search.
There was a time when media companies--and by that I mean magazine and newspaper publishers--employed entire "reader services" departments for each publication. There, dedicated operators would answer readers’ questions via a 1-800 number about products seen in the magazine. Just as advertisements today would never forgo mentioning their Web site addresses, years ago advertisers would always identify their 1-800 numbers in campaigns. How else could consumers get in touch or know who to ask? Now there are electronic robots scrolling Twitter and other social networking sites searching for brand mentions and customer concerns. Once a brand mention is found, a dedicated team of community managers is instantaneously alerted and go to work answering consumer questions or rewarding consumers for positive brand references via Twitter, e-mail, Facebook or other forms of social media. The distance between the seller and the buyer today is short.
New research shows that social media use has become a regular habit for three quarters of the online population. In a survey of 1,700 U.S. Internet users, Nielsen Online found that 73 percent engaged in social media at least once per week. Engagement was defined as reading a blog, visiting a social network or reading (and/or commenting on) a message board. The research pegs the total U.S. social media audience at 127 million.
It took both the telephone and the mobile phone 15 years to amass 100 million users, but Facebook did it in 9 months. We see more and more people becoming connected on online social networks, and it seems our networks are growing exponentially. But the reality is, social networks rarely add to our number of connections. We’ve already met almost all the people we’re connected to on social networks. We’re already connected to these people offline. Social networks simply make the connections visible.
In today's economic environment, chief marketing officers and their companies need to take more risks than ever before to reach their customers. We marketers must adopt a philosophy that encourages taking chances when we deliver our messages. We should all be comfortable failing early, failing often and failing on the cheap in order to learn the most effective ways to accomplishing our goals. Although inundated with messages, customers are now in control of their information-gathering experiences and are demanding information relevant to their lifestyles.
From Facebook Engagement Ads, to Twitter's Promoted Tweets, to SocialVibe, ad opportunities within social media are justifiably drifting away from "display" and towards "engagement." It seems only natural. Click-through rates on display ads surrounding content have been falling precipitously for years, and those same clicks take one clicker in one direction with one experience. This new crop of engagement ads is leveraging the highly connected environments they appear within, turning every interaction with them into an opportunity for rebroadcasting, creating impressions between people that are arguably more effective than the initial impression that started the chain of events.
While Twitter’s growth is apparently stalling, Facebook goes from strength to strength and is now, arguably, the world’s largest digital media ‘owner’ other than Google. Its audience is now a very international one, with 70% of users being outside of the US, and its largest audiences are in countries as varied as the UK, Indonesia and Turkey. With this massive growth has come massive opportunities; not just for Facebook but for brands too. But it has also brought challenges, including one that is cropping up more and more frequently – how should multinational companies manage their Facebook profiles? Globally? Locally? Or, dare I say it, somewhere in between: glocally? For brands with a presence in multiple markets, understanding how best to manage their resources to best provide users with relevant content and ensure the highest possible chance of success in the social marketing efforts, this is a challenge that deserves attention.
So who the heck owns social? That's a tricky question, not only because every business stakeholder -- marketing, PR, IT, research, investor relations, media, consumer relations -- seems to have a piece of social baked into their new DNA and delivery road map, but also because its definition and scope keep getting pulled in new, arguably more complicated, directions.
Twitter will unveil on Tuesday a much-anticipated plan for making money from advertising, finally answering the question of how the company expects to turn its exponential growth into revenue. The advertising program, which Twitter calls Promoted Tweets, will show up when Twitter users search for keywords that the advertisers have bought to link to their ads. Later, Twitter plans to show promoted posts in the stream of Twitter posts, based on how relevant they might be to a particular user.
McDonald's is ramping up its social-media efforts in the U.S., naming its first director-social media, Rick Wion. Mr. Wion, who hails from GolinHarris, Chicago, has handled social-media projects for McDonald's since 2006. He was a founding member of the McDonald's Digital Task Force, which established the company's digital strategy. In an interview, Mr. Wion said his marching orders are three-fold: using social media to build the business, manage customer problems, and beef up outreach to target groups such as mommy bloggers.
Brands have rushed to Facebook to build fan bases, with some amassing millions of connections. The nagging question has been: What is the monetary value of these fans? Social media specialist Vitrue, which aids brands in building their customer bases on social networks, tried to put a media value on such communities. The firm has determined that, on average, a fan base of 1 million translates into at least $3.6 million in equivalent media over a year.
Microsoft is trying to home in on a younger, chattier demographic with two new cellphones centered on social networking. The Kin One and Kin Two allow users to keep closely synched with sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. The start menu displays a montage of photographs from friends with notes about what they are doing rather than a more traditional menu that caters to phone functions. The Kins also have touch screens, links to the Zune music service and high-powered cameras for capturing photographs and video.
Journalists are, by nature, crafty folk who are wonderfully adept at stalking — I mean, finding sources and relevant information for various and sundry stories. Well, the advent of social media has made the process of reporting all the more nuanced, and has served as a vital channel for everything from finding leads to contacting sources to sharing and furthering one’s brand.
Ever since Facebook moved beyond the college campus and Twitter joined the social media matrix, brands have been trying to figure out what to do with them. Generally speaking, brands are using social networks in a relatively systematic way: 1) Create an account; 2) Run ads; 3) Collect fans; 4) Provide news, offers and promotions; 5) Repeat. But the lines of the digital world and real world are blurring, and businesses should start thinking about how they can take their social media initiatives to the next level. This means looking at new ways to mobilize your social media audiences to take action in the real world.
Layaway was a big hit with consumers when the economy tanked, and it still is. Kmart, which is part of Sears Holding Corp., has observed that consumers use the option—which lets shoppers gradually pay for items they want to purchase—year round. The shift reflects America's increasing focus on value, as well as careful, planned spending, said Kmart chief marketing officer Mark Snyder. But value isn't the only focus for Kmart. Using digital and social media, the retailer is prompting teens and younger consumers to shop at its stores. Selena Gomez is launching an exclusive line of teen clothing in Kmart in July, and Jones Apparel Group’s GLO jeans and accessories recently hit stores.
Today, everything is social -– social commerce, social business, social CRM. The list goes on and on. But are consumer technologies like Twitter and Facebook strategic for implementing a social media business strategy? Can you measure the investment? What are the best options for getting tangible value? Once you remove the shiny wrapper, there is an incredible amount of depth and value in using social technologies as a way to reach your customers. However, I personally find the word “social” to be a poor descriptor. Terms like community or collaboration tend to be more meaningful. Here are some ways that businesses and tap into the power of online community.
It certainly was a diverse week in the social media sphere, with the the iPhone OS 4.0 reveal, Digg’s CEO shakeup, Tiger Woods’s new commercial and the Baja California, earthquake’s coverage on Twitter and YouTube. And, as if the aftershocks from the natural disaster wasn’t enough, we’ve been practically flooded with iPad news since its launch this past Saturday.
Advanced technology. Ideas that promise to revolutionize the way businesses are run. Out with the old, in with the new. Not sure how it'll make any money? Mere details. Get going or risk getting left behind. Great riches will come to those with the guts to throw caution and experience to the wind. CRM. Social media. We've seen the story before, and comparisons between the two phenomenon aren't new, either. But looking at things at the company level reveals a sobering possibility: we're about due for The Crash. The parallels are imprecise and sometimes the histories are outright apples and oranges. Get over it. If I'm even partially right, there's a reckoning a'coming.
Is "checking in" the next tweeting? So say the tech cognoscenti, adherents of a new breed of online social service called "geolocation." When members visit their favorite restaurant, bar, or laundromat, they use their smartphone (in most instances) and a site such as Foursquare or Gowalla to tell their friends where they are. Foursquare, which is racking up at least a million check-ins a week, prods its users to keep coming back by turning ordinary life into a kind of game. Users earn points each time they use the service; the most ardent fans keep checking in at the same locations over and over, eventually winning the prestigious title of "mayor" of, say, Happy Hamburger. What's the point of telling everyone you're at the dentist?
In late January, Toyota watched the hundreds of stories about its recall situation flow through Digg and saw the passionate comments and conversations triggered by those stories. Toyota was already an advertiser on the user-voted news aggregator, but execs at the company concluded that ads weren’t going to be enough. In a fast-changing crisis, the carmaker needed a PR platform where it could listen and interact with consumers.
Facebook's growth, which we already know is massive, is truly a global phenomenon, it turns out. And nations with the fastest membership growth rate are in South America, and Asia. Is Facebook becoming the global phone book? The data's surfaced at InsideFacebook.com, with detailed analysis of both the numerical growth rate of members per nation for the month of March 2010, and the penetration Facebook's achieving among each nation's population. Check out the table above--some of those figures should stagger you. Particularly the monthly growth rate for Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, Argentina, and Malaysia--each of which showed around a 10% jump in Facebook membership in a single month. That's frankly astonishing.
Today’s FT has an article about the inability of today’s older marketers to ‘get’ the use of social media. The outgoing marketing chief of Unilever has warned of a “lost generation” of brand managers who do not understand the web and social networks. In his final interview before retiring, Simon Clift said he believed public relations agencies were best placed to profit from the rise of Facebook and Twitter, as traditional advertising agencies struggle to adapt to the digital world.
Trending topics reveal much more than the objects that captivate the hearts, minds, and keyboards of Twitter users around the world. Twitter’s trends is a cultural mirror that reflects the state of attention and intention. And as such, Tweets then offer an MRI that visualizes the minds of consumers and more importantly, serve as a crystal ball that reveals the future of products and services before and soon after they’re released. For the most part, however, the vast amount of precious insight is widely untapped. Instead, businesses focus on volume and congregation, enticing brands to engage in the conversation rather than truly capturing and analyzing the activity that inherently inspires empathy and ultimately relevance. I think that’s about to change…
Things seem a bit adrift at AOL, and the Bebo news makes it seem all that much more... well, drifty. AOL bought the site just two years ago for $850 million, which is nothing to scoff at. CEO Tim Armstrong, who has been on the job since last April, pledged support for Bebo during his first 100 days media tour last June (Obama envy, anyone?). "I think the Bebo team in general could benefit from being in an environment where they can purely focus on Bebo and growing Bebo," he said then. "We're trying to give them kind of a corral where they can live and grow and really act like a start-up without being constrained to the larger strategy the company has."
It's like Trip Advisor for drugs. Even as Big Pharma wrestles with social-media marketing and the pending guidelines on its use from the Food and Drug Administration, consumers are taking the conversation into their own hands with online communities, message boards, forums and chat rooms offered by websites such as askapatient.com, MedHelp and patientslikeme.com. On these sites, consumers are not only sharing information about their respective illnesses and providing support for one another, they're also rating prescription medications.
Social media marketing essentially evolved from The Cluetrain Manifesto assertion that markets are conversations. The world of social media then exploded and conversational platforms, tools and networks evolved. Markets are conversations … whatever that means. When you translate it into the practical, not the etherial, you have to try and figure out conversational marketing. How do you have conversations with people with the intent of promoting a product or service?
Social media has exploded in recent years in its use to gauge customers’ likes and dislikes and to identify consumer buying trends. Users have migrated from trusting traditional media for reviews, ratings, and recommendations to trusting what their peers have to say in social media. The new age of digital and social media is upon us, and apparently, already dying in some areas. New data shows consumers are rebelling against all the “noise.”
Last fall, Mercedes-Benz ran a competition among business schools like Harvard, New York University, Wharton and Kellogg, in cooperation with NYU, to find out what the next critical market for the brand actually thinks of the brand.
The previous campaign for Weight Watchers featured a furry critter that tempted dieters with high-calorie foods. Now, the company has decided to get real: its new campaign will star the actress and singer Jennifer Hudson, who will talk about what she has experienced in her quest to lose weight.
Recently, I spoke to a crowded room of senior marketers at a CPG retailer, one of the executives asked “What’s an indicator a company is advanced in the social space?”. I gave three answers, and one of them was “Developing a thriving advocacy program to fight your battles”. The executives, which were used to traditional advertising and direct marketing had a lightbulb go off as I showed them this framework.
Just in time for this year’s mid-term Congressional elections in November the US Supreme Court opened the financial floodgates by overturning campaign finance rules that prevented corporations from spending at will to oppose or support political candidates. Two of the biggest likely beneficiaries of these new more liberal (not in the political sense) spending rules will undoubtedly be Google and Facebook, although they stood to benefit regardless as more and more political ad dollars flow into search and online display.
Marketers are an odd breed. And sometimes we like to make fun of ourselves. So we asked a funny question on Twitter recently and got a huge kick out of the answers. Enjoy.
In January 2010, nearly 75 million people visited Twitter according to comScore. While that number seems remarkable, it represents only a fraction of what’s realistically attainable. I believe that Twitter’s growth, to date, is hindered not by its ambition nor potential, but by the company’s ongoing focus on competing priorities rather than showcasing how users can effectively communicate and excel on this unique platform. But that’s all about to change… Every day, millions of potential people are introduced to Twitter through traditional media, online dialogue in other social networks, as well as the content and marketing campaigns of local, national, and global businesses and media properties.
Marshall McLuhan once famously said, "The medium is the message." Here's what he meant: "The 'message' of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs." Today, the meaning is the message. The "message" of the Internet's social revolution is more meaningful work, economics, politics, society, and organization. It promises radically more meaning: to make stuff matter, once again, in human terms, not just financial ones. And that's never mattered more.
We're treating social media like Fantasy Football, Baseball etc. Except even those feel more like the real thing. Here are some social media fantasies vs. what I believe are the realities. Fantasy: Social media shouldn't live in a silo, so we are adding these responsibilities to your existing job. Reality: Day jobs will always win and moonlighting only makes you tired. Fantasy: Let's use latest social platform X Reality: They don't actually use latest social platform X, but they've read about it on a blog.
Advertising, PR, and marketing agencies are rapidly waking up to the fact that they can no longer be competitive without including social and emerging media in the work they propose to clients. But in many, if not most, agencies, social media is suffering from Slide 29 Syndrome. That's when an account exec calls the digital gurus and says something like this: "For the past few weeks, we've been working on an RFP that we need to send to the client tomorrow. Please add some social media recommendations to the deck and get it us by COB today." They say that because they think social media is Twitter and Facebook and that you pretty much just need to throw up a page so you can broadcast your press releases and announcements.
This morning, eBay introduced two new iPhone applications, designed to make sellers’ lives easier when it comes to listing items on the giant online marketplace from their Apple phones. The ecommerce juggernaut also casually mentioned that it is on pace to reach a whopping $1.5 billion worth of goods sold via mobile phones in 2010 – more than double the mobile GMV (gross merchandise value) it registered in 2009 ($600 million).
Global luxury group Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) has launched Nowness.com, a web platform that allows luxury brands to showcase high-quality branded film content against a more sophisticated design aesthetic and insider editorial voice that luxury-goods consumers have come to expect – and that the broader audience of YouTube or Vimeo might not currently call for.
Given all the problems our world faces — in teaching, technology, health care, or finance — we need many more social entrepreneurs and change makers. Progress against these problems will be intolerably slow if only 3% to 5% of world's population thinks they can solve them. We need to teach our youth that they can help people; that they can lead; that they can make lasting and important change in their communities and across the globe. Society, employers, educators, and parents need to recognize that our kids' successful personal and social development must start with a mastery of several complex skills — empathy, teamwork, leadership, and change making.
Is it just me, or is social media getting a little creepy? This week I came across a couple of Web sites that, as well as being cute, funny, and a little bit different from the usual Facebook and Twitter offshoots. The first, SleepingTime, lets you find out when individual Twitterers sleep--and it's even compiled a list of the world's foremost tech experts' sleep/tweet times. So, if you want to know when you can rob Kara Swisher's house, or even shin up their drainpipe just to stand over her gently sibilating body, now you know when to do it.
Here’s a nice foil for Philly’s recent spat of violent flash mobs: A bunch of adorable children spontaneously breaking out into a sick dance routine in San Francisco’s Union Square. Yeah, they’re basically shilling for H&M — but the dance is rather impressive and deserves a look.
Things have changed a great deal in the last 18 months. Companies are getting serious about social media. And we've seen enough cases recently about mishandled situations in social media to bethinking about what makes sense as a team mix. In a quick email exchange about his post good agencies don't hire social media strategists, Sean Howard and I were musing that outsourcing digital is as much a risk as is hoping that a social media expert will save the day. Is there a role for agencies in the digital space?
Social shopping is something we've been seeing more and more of lately, including sites like Blippy and Estonian WhosRich.me. The latest spotting? Justbought.it, which adds geolocation and an augmented reality twist. Users of Canadian Justbought.it can take photos of their purchases, share them with their friends through Facebook and Twitter, and comment on the purchases others have made. Google Maps integration allows users to find local friends and deals, while a point system recognizes those who contribute most to the site. A free iPhone app is already available, with versions for Android and Blackberry coming soon. Perhaps most interesting of all, in fact, is that the Android version will include an augmented reality app that lets users walk into a store and see what others on the site have already purchased, the company says. Ultimately, Justbought.it hopes to forge partnerships with online retailers to enable tweets on the site whenever consumers buy something, according to a report on Mashable.
It didn't take long for Julie Liu -- late 20s, smartphone-addicted, constant Googler -- to get hooked on the online review site Yelp. Where to eat Friday night? Read some reviews by random anonymous diners. Oh, that looks good. Book a table online, show up, eat. But after Liu and her sister opened Scion restaurant in Dupont Circle, they saw Yelp from a different angle. Liu said Yelp's salespeople phoned repeatedly, telling her that if she advertised on the site, negative reviews would move lower on Scion's page and positive reviews would move up.
It’s worth revisiting and re-crafting this refrain today — in a marketing arena in which the whole world’s gone topsy-turvy. As Social Media has blown up the silos between Advertising, Corp Comms, Direct Marketing, Public Relations, Customer Service, and even Information Technology, it’s easy to get caught up in the tools and techniques rather than focus on the sea change underlying this new madness. What’s this Social Media stuff really all about? It’s about the people.
Last year, those Evian roller babies skated their way into the pages of the Guinness World Records as the most-viewed online advertisement in history, with what the company now claims is more than 100 million views. But one achievement it did not pull off? A boost in U.S. sales. Evian lost market share as sales dropped 28 percent in each of the first two quarters, although it reduced those declines to 26 percent in the third quarter and 19 percent in the fourth, according to Beverage Digest.
According to ForeSee Results’ 2010 Social Media Study, YouTube is the second most powerful social network for consumer engagement. This critical component of the social web remains vital for causes, associations and government organizations. Non-profits have been engaging with YouTube for years, but it’s still important to have a specific online video strategy. The following five tips can help organizations maximize their YouTube offering for the most impact.
You can play bingo on it. Unknown piano players and rock stars alike can use it to serenade strangers. Bands can announce their albums there. And you can even sell a nightclub's worth of tickets for an evening spent experimenting with it. What is it? Why, Chatroulette, of course. For about two months now, people all over the world have been flocking to the site, which offers little more than a way to connect to random strangers on the other end of a Web cam. Built by a Russian high school student, the site launched in November but became the latest online addiction sometime in February after thousands of people discovered how easy it was to spend hours seeing what other people staring at Webcams were doing.
If you haven't seen it by now, the Nestle brand* has run into a bit of a brand crisis on Facebook thanks to a combination of a coordinated attack from Greenpeace and missteps from the brand in communicating with consumers through the social media environment. The negativity is piling on at the moment and the brand is likely getting advice from many different places about what to do next and how to react. Along with this, their following on Facebook is exploding and is now close to 100,000 fans. In my mind, this is another great example of the type of crisis that we have seen in many companies that ultimately helps to awaken their entire teams to the power of social media and how it may require a different type of thinking.
Good friend JD Lasica asked me to answer some fantastic questions for a post he published in celebration of Engage. I poured so much of myself into the responses, that I felt it was worth sharing here with you as well. Many of the lessons and observations below are important for you as a champion, decision maker, entrepreneur, or executive. Social Media is not only changing how we communicate, we are also changing the culture of business from the outside in and from the bottom up. In doing so, businesses, of all shapes and sizes, will magnetize communities. As such, the intentional creation and crafting of a useful and meaningful culture in business will create a competitive advantage, giving people a reason to align and ultimately embody and extend your purpose and mission.
If the U.S. population was represented by Woody Allen's "Manhattan," the Fed's $300 million investment in Draftfcb's 2010 census communications program will probably deliver the greatest ROI in marketing history. This sprawling campaign has been resoundingly criticized for lame humor, lackluster creative and missed targeting. But hold on, folks! Our fellow marketing brethren at Draftfcb didn't even get the contract until September 2007 and only had support from 11 other companies!
I'd like to advance a hypothesis: Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn't connecting us as much as we think it is. It's largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships. During the subprime bubble, banks and brokers sold one another bad debt — debt that couldn't be made good on. Today, "social" media is trading in low-quality connections — linkages that are unlikely to yield meaningful, lasting relationships.
Social media monitoring is the practice of monitoring social media for topics and mentions that are of interest to your company or brand. Social media monitoring is generally discussed with in the context of online reputation management. However, social media monitoring can also be used to help promote a brand, aid customer service, contribute to product development, and measure off line marketing efforts, among other things.
In 2007 Charlene Li, then at Forrester Research, now running the Altimeter Group, along with Forrester ’s Josh Bernoff, Remy Fiorentino, and Sarah Glass released a report that introduced us to Social Technographics. Forrester’s research segmented participation behavior on the social web into six categories, visualized through a ladder metaphor with the rungs at the high end of the ladder indicating a greater level of participation. Social Technographics were designed to help businesses engage in social media with a more human approach, catering to individuals where, when, and how they are participating and contributing to the social Web. According to Forrester research…
Despite our ongoing fascination and dependence on digital interactions, the point of social media—and perhaps all media—is connectivity. Campaigns like Blu Dot’s experiment in New York, Grill’d in Melbourne, or the T-Mobile dance in Liverpool Street Station demonstrate the power that actual physical events and online channels create when they work together. These campaigns get watched. They get forwarded. They’re viral in every sense of the word. That’s because most of us want to look behind the curtain—maybe even participate.
While Twitter seems to have the market sewn up when it comes to the public sharing of snippets of information, the competition is heating up for offering similar services inside a corporation. Microsoft, for example, is testing OfficeTalk, a microblogging service that's a sort of Twitter for businesses, while Google has been using an inside-the-company version of its Google Buzz feature to allow co-workers to share information with one another.
Last week, Nestle got itself into a bit of a situation on its Facebook page. Following accusations by Greenpeace that the confectionery company was using palm oil sourced from deforested areas in Indonesia, the company's Facebook page was overrun by disgruntled campaigners urging a boycott of its products, and the firm was forced to put out a statement on its corporate website.
This year will be a transitional year for marketing as we move toward an era that is "more immediate, more personal, more social, and more engaging," according to recently released survey data from marketing software developer Unica. Really what this means is that marketers have to be much more vigilant about managing their various presences, online and off, in order to stay on top of their brand. While there are more tools and channels for marketers than ever before, marketing budgets haven't risen dramatically. This means that marketers will need to use technology to leverage fast, cheap marketing channels.
A lot of people are excited about social media and think it could have a hugely positive impact on their brand, their marketing and communications, the insight they get, the way in which they deal with customer service and many other benefits it can bring to an organisation and to the way it interacts with and engages customers. They are right to be excited, the opportunities are great but brands should not hide from the fact that getting an engaging social media presence takes proper thought, some effort and may take time to embed.
As social media becomes mainstream, and more brands venture into the waters, it's not only essential to decide who, in your organization, is responsible for your social media brand voice, but to make sure they have a solid messaging platform as a springboard for content.
Last Monday night in Austin, about 200 people were milling around the bar at the Driskill Hotel, an unofficial headquarters for the name-badge-infested horde attending the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference. And just after midnight, about 70 people in different parts of the gorgeous relic of a bar stood up and began moving quickly toward the exit. Where were we all going? To the CollegeHumor party around the corner. How did we know it was time to go there? Because our smartphones told us so.
In case you haven’t been watching, Nestle’s Facebook Fan page has been overrun by critics of their sustainability issues around palm olive and deforestation. While this isn’t the place to have a discussion sustainability, let’s look at the ramifications this has to society, brands, fans, and Facebook.
When marketing retro sneakers, marketers face a challenge: how do you sell them to consumers too young to be nostalgic for bygone eras? Keds, a 94-year-old brand owned by Collective Brands, thinks it has the answer with a new slogan, “the original sneaker,” and a Web site that had its debut on March 9. Created by the Night Agency, a digital marketing firm in Manhattan, TheOriginalSneaker.com features an opening page laid out like a monthly calendar that changes daily and features tidbits about the brand and cultural highlights from the last nine decades.
Six years ago I had the opportunity to work on an ambitious social project that set out to socialize the living room. Keep in mind, this was before the popularization of social networking as it exists today. In almost every way, this system predicted what would ultimately transform your experience on PCs as well as everything else. It was rooted in the realization that the Web was an isolated and lonely experience and that in order for online and terrestrial content to connect with audiences in the future, a new hybrid was required – one that fused social, consumption, and participation in the overall experience.
On March 13, a Virgin America flight from Los Angeles to New York was diverted from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Stewart airport in Newburgh, N.Y., due to severe weather, and the passengers and crew waited in the plane on the tarmac for over four hours. The crew was anxious, babies were crying, mothers were anxious, and the passengers were unruly — to the point that one woman was taken off the plane by police. The entire ordeal was documented by David Martin, the CEO of Kontain.com, on his company's iPhone social-media application.
Today, Facebook co-founder and My.BarackObama.com alum Chris Hughes announced the soft launch of Jumo, his new philanthropic start-up that works to match do-gooders with appropriate causes. Currently, the Jumo site is merely an elegantly designed homepage that announces Hughes’s mission to “bring together everyday individuals and organizations to speed the pace of global change. We connect people to the issues, organizations, and individuals relevant to them to foster lasting relationships and meaningful action.”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the future of search. What will it look like? What will the changes ahead mean to me as an inhouse search marketer? Will my work be different? Will I need new skills? It’s almost a dead certain reality that any inhouse search marketer today will need to develop new skills, if they don’t already possess them. For years, many in the industry have advocated the need to know more than SEO to be successful in SEO. In the near future that will be proven out, and skills beyond SEO will be demanded from anyone trying to make a career as an SEO. Just knowing the basics of SEO is often enough to get you started, and that will remain true – as a statement. The basics themselves will continue to expand, so this becomes a moving target. Let’s just say you cannot be too aware of emerging trends and how they impact your world.
Check out the panels or exhibitors at this year's SXSW and you'll see how many longstanding social media and web app challenges now have compelling, or at least viable, solutions. Staying on top of the latest social media news? Check. Coordinating the 5 different computers to you need to manage your life online? Check and check. Finding your online friends onto the real world so that you can have a beer together? Check, check, and check. With so many solutions on display, the still-unsolved problems are all the more conspicuous. Here are five of the toughest problems that social media and web applications still haven't successfully addressed.
A new study shows that those who are fans or followers of a brand on Facebook or Twitter, respectively, are significantly more likely to buy products and services or recommend the brand to a friend. Specifically, the study by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that consumers are 67% more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter, and 51% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on Facebook. Moreover, they’re 79% more likely to recommend their Twitter follows to a friend, and 60% more likely to do the same on Facebook.
While I have spent some time pondering social media in 2006, this topic is getting dear to my heart again. Partially because – here at Futurelab - there has been a marked increase in the number of requests from large organisations to help develop a “social media strategy”. This is often accompanied by the words Facebook, Twitter, buzz and monetization. My usual one-line response to these queries is that developing a strategy for social media, is about as useful as developing of a strategy for a fax machine.
Everything you've been hearing about teen girls living on Facebook, friending their favorite brands and influencing hundreds of future purchases with the single click of the "like" button? A new report from Euro RSCG suggests it's all wrong, and that teen girls share shopping secrets the way they always have -- with only their closest friends, and even then, not online. "Facebook and MySpace are very public," Karina Meckel, director of strategic planning, tells Marketing Daily. "But while 8 out of 10 girls use social media, we've found that teen girls don't like to talk about shopping there. When they find a good deal, they're interested in tipping off a few close friends, not broadcasting it. These girls aren't moving and shopping in flocks, as many marketers believe. They closely select very small, intimate groups -- it's a sisterhood."
Today, the peanut gallery, digitally enabled by social media, is casting real-time shadows onto the screen of popular culture. As my colleague Brian Stelter wrote in The New York Times recently, the Internet, which was thought to be a TV killer, is turning out to be its wingman, helping build huge, and in some cases record, audiences for large events like the Super Bowl, the Grammys and the Olympics. (How else to explain the baffling ardency for curling?) During the Oscars last week, there were as many as 70,000 posts an hour on Twitter, according to Trendr.
I was asked to give this talk to invite you to think deeply. For those who don’t know me… I'm an ethnographer. I study how social media has become a part of daily life. I'm also an activist, driven to making the world a better place through the production and dissemination of knowledge. And I'm also a geek and a blogger. I've been blogging for 13 years, determined to communicate to the world what I've had the privilege of witnessing. I love technology but I also love to be critical of technology. What keeps me up at night is trying to make sense of how social media transforms society and, more importantly, what it helps make visible about humanity. Technophobes love to talk about how technology is ruining everything and technophiles obsess over how everything is radically different. I like to wade through the extremes to see the subtle inflection points. Reality is always in the details. My goal today is to invite you to step back and ask: what hath we wrought?
Mobile services like Loopt and Google’s Latitude have promoted the notion of constantly beaming your location to a map that is visible to a network of friends — an idea that is not for everybody. But now there is a different approach, one that is being popularized by Foursquare. After firing up the Foursquare application on their phones, users see a list of nearby bars, restaurants and other places, select their location and “check in,” sending an alert to friends using the service.
The only thing more challenging than deciphering the names of all the social-minded Web sites battling for attention at the South by Southwest technology conference here — Brizzly, Vicarious.ly, Stalqer, Quora and so forth — would be the chore of signing up for each one individually. But a growing number of start-up companies are getting around this problem by, in essence, outsourcing the sign-up process. They are making use of a Facebook service that lets users log into new sites using their Facebook credentials. The free service, Facebook Connect, can help nascent Web services recruit a healthy crowd of users in a hurry, and help the users find their friends on those sites. At the same time, the service reinforces Facebook’s role as the central hub of the social networking world.
We're entering uncharted territory as phones and computers get smarter and tools like Facebook and Twitter take their place on the social-networking landscape next to cafes, the public square and cocktail hour. People you think you know can click on your name and either add you to their lives or delete you in an instant. No muss, no fuss. It's all so impersonal yet hard not to take personally. But our relentlessly multitasking society's message is either learn to thrive in this fast-moving new realm or miss out.
Perhaps the most difficult aspects of Social Media to embrace are the changes in our behavior and overall philosophy it necessitates in order to earn relevance and ultimately prominence in consumer hearts, minds, and markets. Simply put, Social Media makes us vulnerable and officially ends an era of perceived control threaded by the illusion of invincibility. Everything we thought we knew and valued is now in dire need of reassessment. We are entering into a time when we are affected by voiced sentiment in the public spotlight and backchannels of the social Web. What we hear, see and observe can and should touch us.
A hot new social-networking service dubbed Bubbly, which is essentially a voice-based Twitter, is quickly gaining popularity among Indians. And thanks to Bollywood celebs being early adopters, Bubbly is growing virally and with virtually zero marketing spend.
There are just a handful of CMOs who are as Twitter-happy as Jeffrey Hayzlett. The Eastman Kodak marketer, who has around 16,000 followers, is more than just the lead marketer for Kodak; he's also often its prime defender, throwing verbal jabs at rival Hewlett-Packard as the two exchange claims over printer ink costs. Just as Kodak has migrated its product line from analog to digital, Hayzlett, who joined the company in 2006, has weaned the company from events like the Olympics (which it had sponsored since 1896) to increasingly spread the message online. Hayzlett, who will appear on Celebrity Apprentice 3 on March 21, talked to Brandweek about those efforts. Below are some excerpts:
In addition to creating a digital extension to Diesel's national "Be Stupid" campaign, which broke earlier this year, the AOR will be responsible for a number of social media aspects for Diesel, including a mix of blogger relations. Iced Media will monitor Diesel's social media programs daily using IcedMetrix, a proprietary measurement tool that enables clients to track social media referred sales.
What do Ford Mustang, True Religion jeans, Xbox 360 and Coke have in common? Kids are curious about these brands, and are going online to ask questions about them en masse on social media platforms catering to youthful queries.
Here's the rub: We've got too much sizzle in the system right now. Social media garnishes every marcom conference and discussion, and I'm already bolting myself in my chair before the unstoppable tweet tsunami from the SXSW crowd over the next 10 days. We're obsessed. Join the conversation! Engage the conversation! Hell, spike the conversation!
It is a truth universally acknowledged that everybody makes predictions at the end of a year about ‘the big thing for next year’. Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong. And sometimes you only really start to notice trends and change when you are in them. In social media it is becoming clearer and clearer that the big thing for 2010 is location-based tools.
Two weeks ago on TechCrunch I posted “The Facebook Imperative,” which posed a simple question, “Why isn’t all enterprise software like Facebook?” It was the next iteration of the question I asked in 1999 that spawned salesforce.com, “Why isn’t all enterprise software like Amazon.com.” If you have read my book, Behind The Cloud, you are well aware how that one question launched a company, and a movement. Its been an exciting decade. But the real excitement is just starting.
Chevrolet, which has signed as exclusive automotive sponsor of SXSW music, film and interactive festival for the next three years, will use its freshman presence there this week to tout such vehicles as the Camaro, Volt and Cruze, and to get ideas on best practices and emerging technologies in social media from the intelligentsia who attend. Chevrolet is also using the Austin, Tex. show to test three social-media applications. One is a mobile location app from Austin-based Gowalla that tells a cell phone user's contacts where he or she is. When Gowalla users check in at various locations in Austin, they will get text messages with offers from Chevrolet and SXSW, such as a free ride in a new Equinox for those who use Gowalla when they get to the airport.
Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; YouTube; Wordpress: these companies, built from the ground-up, are mainstays in social media. None of them were created by a large tech company, and all but one remains independent. It’s an interesting phenomenon, when you think about it. Large tech companies have had limited to no success creating their own social media home runs. In an era where communication is increasingly taking place on these channels, the inability of these digital giants to build social networks is rather striking.
Wow. Just wow. Yesterday of all days, ABC (via it's parent, Disney) decides to play hard ball with Cablevision and pull its programming from 3,000,000+ New York based customers and countless more tri-state (New Jersey and Connecticut) customers as well (CT customers could watch on their local CT affiliate station, but I'd suspect the average viewer within 50 miles of New York doesn't even know this exists) And all of this on the DAY of the Academy Awards.
Today many marketers are tripping over one another to invade social networks in force. There is a social media land grab underway as businesses rush to set up hubs on the "big three:" Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. All at once, businesses large and small recognize that they need to go where the people congregate. And with 100 million Facebook users in the U.S., this movement is understandable. When your local pizzeria is promoting their Facebook page at the register, as mine does, then you know that marketing has changed.
Sumner Redstone famously called content "king." Rupert Murdoch recently upgraded that to "Emperor." While there is certainly some truth to that when looking at online content -- see Hulu's rapid growth as an example -- there are far more cases where great content does not seem to matter at all. At the very least, I think it is fair to say that even if content is king online, then distribution and marketing are the "crown princes." Good content or not, understanding and embracing digital distribution and marketing will prove critical to everyone in the entertainment industry.
You should pay attention to the backgrounds and stories of these 5 entrepreneurs. It's in the details that you learn the most -- and they give away quite a bit of detail, given how they make their income. The first thing you need to understand as you read these profiles is that although these entrepreneurs all built a platform with their blogs, your blog is not a business.
Marketers have turned to all manner of social channels in their efforts to tap into the social media craze, from engaging in formal blogger outreach efforts to stuffing YouTube channels with videos in the hopes that others will embed link to them from their Facebook profiles. But marketers continue to ignore one group that, if approached correctly, could have a greater impact than all the rest combined.
The convention for creating financial opportunities is evolving and changing the way we seed prospects, promote our expertise and prowess, and connect with those who can help us learn and advance through the facilitation of strategic and mutually beneficial alliances. Digital capitalization is laying a foundation for expanding the need to cultivate and participate, not only in the real world, but also in the online networks and communities that can benefit us personally and professionally.
Unilever's creative agencies need to "move past their reliance on the 30-second spot" and focus more on social media efforts to keep up with modern consumers. So said Unilever's vp, personal care Kathy O'Brien today at the American Association of Advertising Agencies' Transformation Conference in San Francisco. "The world has moved on. I think consumers have moved on, and we need to get past [TV spots] to figure out what the next way of talking to consumers" will be, said O'Brien. "I also put the onus on us. We rely heavily on it as well as a company. We've done it well for so long [that] we assume it's at the core of everything we do and it doesn't always need to be."
Ford has tapped 40 people to participate in the second phase of its Fiesta Movement campaign, a social-media effort begun last year to drive awareness of the U.S. version of the Ford Fiesta compact car, which goes on sale this summer. While the first program had participants blogging about their experiences with the car for a series of assignments from Ford Motor, the second program -- involving 20 teams of two agents each -- will have participants developing local-market activity around the car.
Spring break, the alcohol-soaked annual rite of passage, can sometimes be a nightmare for the towns that host it. Just ask Fort Lauderdale or Daytona Beach, two Florida cities once synonymous with the event that have all but put out the "un-welcome" sign to college students looking to party. Then there's the flip side -- spring break is a $40 billion business, according to a Harris Interactive study, and many communities are willing to trade a couple of weeks of mayhem for their share of that pie. Panama City Beach, Fla., is one of them them.
While the so-called "Twitter effect" and its impact on a movie's box office remains enigmatic at best for most studios, Lionsgate is hoping its latest social-media marketing milestone will put them one step closer to a solution. Lionsgate will become the first advertiser to sync up its sponsored brand pages on YouTube, Facebook and MySpace under one platform to promote its upcoming comic-book movie "Kick-Ass," out April 16.
As the first project in its new GeoBranding Center, the CMO Council (CMOC) is partnering with South Africa to measure the impacts of the country's branding efforts and co-sponsor a crowd-sourcing advertising contest leading up to the FIFA World Cup tournament this summer. The council is forming the GeoBranding Center as a global knowledge resource center dedicated to the marketing of countries, destinations, places of origin, attractions, venues and locations. Geobranding experts and marketers will be invited to contribute insights, opinions, case studies and best practices, and a series of research initiatives will explore the impact of campaigns using B-to-C and B-to-B digital and traditional advertising and marketing campaigns. The center's microsite will launch March 15.
I hate the word "buzz," especially when it's being stoked by a calculated PR push, so I'm going to start using a new word, "puzz" (publicity + buzz) to describe that phenomenon. The last couple weeks have seen a lot of puzz about Foursquare, a very interesting, cutting-edge social media application that combines digital, mobile distribution of data with the real-world physical locations of its users. Basically, it's a social network site that tells your friends where you are. This is a very cool idea, bringing online social media -- previously restricted to the infinite, abstract Internet -- into the limited, concrete geography of the real world. The latest Foursquare puzz has it partnering with IGN Entertainment's AskMen.com site, for a deal that will distribute content about local travel and entertainment from the AskMen A. List newsletter to Foursquare users, complementing the highly targeted local social focus of the latter.
A useful survey from global PR firm Burson-Marsteller this week looks at the ways in which the Global Fortune 100 companies are using social media. The tools they are using and how they are developing a social media strategy. The survey looked at 100 firms in the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and examined how these firms are using social media.
In a comment to last week's post on what (worries you) and why, Dan Naden writes: I am concerned about effectively managing my time. Focusing on the important sometimes gets shoved aside for the 'urgent'. This is an issue we're all more all less wrestling with to one degree or another. Thank you, Dan for surfacing it for us. People often ask me how I manage to produce so much content and to be (seemingly) everywhere, will holding a full time job. I have no life. Seriously, though, let's take a look at definitions and go from here:
Facebook's virtual currency, "Facebook Credits," is getting very close to its full launch: a post on the Facebook developer blog explains some of the full terms of the system and what developers can expect as the currency continues to roll out slowly.
In January of 2009, I started telling people that content strategy would be the next big focus for organizations worldwide. I even went so far as to say, “Content strategy will soon be getting more attention than social media.” Lots of folks smiled encouragingly, patted my shoulder, and told me to get back to my style guides. Some people just laughed at me. And that’s when I hit them over the head with my content inventory. Bam!
Generations, like people, have personalities, and Millennials – the American teens and twenty-somethings who are making the passage into adulthood at the start of a new millennium – have begun to forge theirs: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change.
Geno and were having an in person chat the other day. (The one day he was in town last week, geez that guy is raking in some Frequent Flier miles). Anyway we were talking about integrity. We talk a lot about authenticity at Brains on Fire. Being who you are. Knowing what you stand for. Supporting your customer’s genuine passion conversations, not product conversations. But lately Geno and I have been rolling this notion of integrity around.
Nielsen recently released a new report that officially documents what many of us already know, just never substantiated through data. According to a study published at the end of January 2010, Nielsen observed the online social activity of consumers around the world and discovered an 82% increase in time spent on social networking sites in December 2009. On average, users spent more than five and a half hours on popular networks such as Facebook and Twitter. In December 2008, users clocked just over three hours on social networking sites.
Well, both Tiger Woods and Akio Toyoda have apologized for their transgressions, thereby following -- however belatedly and incompletely -- the scripted advice from communications experts: Woods looked into the camera and admitted his sins, while Toyoda did the Japanese understatement thing and then had his staff take out full-page "open letters" to customers.
Executives at ICOM, a global network of independent ad agencies, were surveyed by Ad Age about the top digital trends and issues facing their markets in 2010. Among the findings: Facebook and Twitter rule the world (except in China and Spain), but digital budgets are still small and, in some countries, mostly reserved for the bravest of marketers. Oh, and don't insult the monarch in Malaysia.
Some small businesses are experimenting with new Web-marketing services that integrate social media. While entrepreneurs say they've seen some positive results, some of the services carry hefty fees and their long-term value remains unclear. Start-ups like Groupon Inc., LivingSocial, BuyWithMe Inc. and IMshopping Inc.'s NimbleBuy let merchants offer one-day promotions, sometimes requiring a minimum number of customers to participate in order for the promotion to be valid.
Imagine walking up to an ATM — you insert your card and begin to check your balance before you put in the amount of cash you want to withdraw from the machine. As you do this, a small crowd of people begins to form around you peering over your shoulder. Some are friends, some family, some are casual acquaintances and some you don't even know. Uncomfortable situation? Absolutely. While ATMs are in public settings, they are meant to be private interactions. If someone — even someone you know began to involve themselves with your financial activity you would get annoyed.
With the economy tight and ad dollars tighter, the tactic of "going negative" against competitor brands has become more popular. The trend is expected to continue through 2010. One of the more effective current examples is Fedex and its "Brown Bailout" campaign. Brownbailout.com (“brown” referring to how UPS has branded itself) stands in opposition to the government "bailout" of the United Parcel Service (UPS).
Before you move some of your surviving budget into a spiffy new social-media campaign and give up control of your brand to "the conversation," consider that you might be replacing your old-fashioned, excruciatingly commercial marketing with newfangled irrelevant nonsense. At least that's what I get from the Edelman 2010 Trust Barometer, which found that only 25% of people it polled see friends and peers as credible sources of consumer and business information (that's a decline of nearly 50% since 2008). Folks also think less of their peers as credible spokespeople. Should these findings cause worry for the almost four out of five companies planning to take TV ad money and put it into social?
There’s no question that Toyota is in deep trouble with its current recall crisis. But could these issues actually be helping its brand? Shockingly, an analysis of Toyota shows that its Social Influence Marketing (SIM) Score saw an uptick in January. Who’d have thought that a crisis of such significant magnitude could actually help a brand’s perception? This seems to be true, at least in the short term, even though sales may be dropping. Let me explain how.
Why go to the trouble of creating networks of passionate consumers? Well, partly because your consumer will insist you do. Engaging directly with them is the new normal. The ubiquity of social-networking tools has created an expectation of accessibility not just from friends and colleagues but from companies too. We're now in a culture that celebrates and enables constant contact and responsiveness from everyone, like it or not. But the real reason to go beyond conventional broadcast media, and even beyond constant engagement to the Holy Grail of community, is to create commitment in an environment that predisposes people to capriciousness.
In mid-2009, Mtn Dew's marketing team decided to test the limits of earned media by moving a marketing budget that represents more than $100 million in sales almost entirely online. It was the second iteration of its "Dewmocracy" campaign, but this time the beverage maker decided to double-down. In the course of more than a year, it would tap its own consumers to build line extensions from the flavor up and delve deeper into online channels to spread the word.
Hundreds of messages on the boards at PampersVillage.com have criticized changes to Pampers Cruisers in recent months, but a closer look shows an outsized portion of them came from a couple of posters. Social media might be all about big numbers, but in a surprising number of marketing mishaps, a relatively small handful of people were the sparks that turned into online brushfires.
Let's get this straight right away: Return on investment in social media is not measured in how many friends you have on Facebook or how many followers you have on Twitter. It's not calculated in trending topics or YouTube comments. It should, in fact, be held to the same criteria other marketing channels are: Did it move your business? It's done just that at Starbucks, which is a digital marketer worth watching.
For almost two years, "Paranormal Activity" quietly maintained modern-day cult movie status, traveling from film festivals to the occasional midnight screening in a college town for anyone who wanted to see -- and scream at -- the ultralow-budget horror thriller. But after Paramount Pictures picked up the $15,000 film from corporate sibling DreamWorks last summer, it was time to redefine what "cult" could mean in the digital age of 2009. Paramount teamed with Eventful, a user-generated event marketing site, for a first-of-its-kind "Demand It" campaign in which movie fans could "demand" the movie come to their hometown. If the film got 1 million demands, Paramount promised, the studio would roll out the film nationwide to all the markets that asked for it. The studio reached that lofty goal in less than a week.
Odwalla will be the first brand to have a presence in all 50 state parks, thanks to a new initiative from the National Association of State Park Directors. That organization voted in December to allow for the creation of such national deals. The decision came after state budgets had been hammered by the recession, but also was the result of the September appointment of Joe Elton as NASPD president. Phllip McKnelly, NASPD executive director, said Elton, who serves a two-year term, had two primary goals for the organization: To become more active in Washington and to market and brand the state parks collectively. "Each state system is a bit different and they have not been branded," said McKnelly.
Last night New York-based advertising agency Lume Creative hosted an industry only seminar on social media in fashion featuring two of the biggest names currently in the field: Scott Schuman of TheSartorialist.com and Garance Dore of GaranceDore.fr. This is the first time the two have spoken together in a public forum about their work, success, and vision.
Data visualization is cool. It's also becoming ever more useful, as the vibrant online community of data visualizers (programmers, designers, artists, and statisticians — sometimes all in one person) grows and the tools to execute their visions improve. Jeff Clark is part of this community. He, like many data visualization enthusiasts, fell into it after being inspired by pioneer Martin Wattenberg's landmark treemap that visualized the stock market. Clark's latest work shows much promise. He's built four engines that visualize that giant pile of data known as Twitter. All four basically search words used in tweets, then look for relationships to other words or to other Tweeters. They function in almost real time.
Even in these tough times, surprising and extraordinary efforts are under way in businesses across the globe. From politics to technology, energy, and transportation; from marketing to retail, health care, and design, each company on the following pages illustrates the power and potential of innovative ideas and creative execution.
Proving #sneaky is as #sneaky does, Ad Age's Kunur Patel "outs" JetBlue's senior VP of marketing and commercial, Marty St. George who earlier, had posted this tweet. It was an innocent tweet and to Marty's credit, he responded quickly and with the same cheek, personality and tone that is very much "on brand". In other words, he did a great job with a Mea Culpa that was a little irreverent and self deprecating (my personal recipe). So in the same spirit, I thought I'd share some thoughts and feedback with Marty on his approach and more importantly his hypothesis or experiment. I would've tried 140 characters or less, but there's already a pun for that. For starters, you don't need to learn anything from agencies (at least the traditional ones); they could learn a lot from you...after all you (Jet Blue) were the first brand (or one of the first) to amass 1,000,000 followers. That's a pretty sublime critical mass to tap into during both good and bad times.
Here is something that product managers and strategic marketers know first-hand: new product introductions and market roll-outs often carry large, and daunting, expectations. A poorly-executed product intro can cost jobs, upward professional mobility, and even millions of dollars and damage to an entire product family’s brand image in the market
In the last post, I discussed the importance of social objects (images, videos, blog posts, comments, status updates, wall posts, etc.) in a Social Media Optimization campaign. This month, I am going to explore the five major ways that these social objects can be contextualized: keywords, titles, descriptions, tags and/or links.
For all the excitement about social media, there's a specter hanging over its use by companies. Is all this tweeting, blogging and Facebooking paying off? For some proponents, the question is irrelevant. They agree with the view encapsulated in the social media bible The Cluetrain Manifesto -- markets are conversations. Companies have to participate in the conversations where they're happening, ROI be damned. Their dismissal of metrics is summed up in an oft-repeated question, "What's the ROI of putting on your pants in the morning?"
As a brand, publisher, designer, photographer, artist, or filmmaker, the social web is your new distribution channel as well as your portfolio for intellectual assets. Whether you’re in the business of creating, marketing, selling, or distributing media, the social Web is an incredible medium that can create a brand, establish visibility, and build demand, all without active promotion. It’s about letting your expertise or work market itself through the practice of a socialized form of inbound marketing that helps make content discoverable when people search.
Google made a whopper of a mistake. There's an old saying "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me". Google's new Buzz service now falls under that probationary truism, as it has become embroiled in a privacy mess. Google officially launched its Google Buzz service -- a social networking-like RSS feed which drew from Picasa, Flikr, Twitter, and Gmail only last week. Many observers worried that the service might suffer similar problems to Facebook, which raised a lot of uproar over privacy changes, and a year ago had to publicly apologize after putting users' purchases off-site (with partners) in their feeds. Not so, said Google. The search giant insisted that it would "do no evil" as its motto goes, and would protect its customers.
Niche social networking sites aren't new. We've written about plenty of them, covering a diverse range of people and interests including travellers, property owners, office workers, restaurateurs, people with disabilities, baby boomers and even dogs. So, who is the newest kid on the social networking block? FaceChipz, a safe, age-appropriate online networking site for "tweens" where friendship links can only be made as the result of face-to-face exchanges in the real world.
Dear Marketer, Valentine just passed, and together with many others, my wife and I celebrated that sacred bond that only loved ones can share: a warm and lasting relationship. But as we did, I also started thinking about that “other” relationship you tell me I should have. The relationship with your brand and your company. As I reflected on the way that you treated me over the past 10 years, I could only conclude that in spite of all the signals, advisors and self-help books, you haven’t really changed your ways. You’re too addicted to your organizational silos, your KPI’s, your industry habits.
Edelman today named BBC veteran Richard Sambrook, its first chief content officer. Mr. Sambrook, who has been the BBC's director of global news and a member of the BBC's Management Board for the last 10 years, will assist agency clients in producing written, video and audio content that will allow them to tell their own stories to consumers. Mr. Sambrook will report to Edelman EMEA President and CEO David Brain and will be based in Edelman's London office. The agency said he will also sit on its Global Executive Committee, chaired by CEO and President Richard Edelman.
A national survey, conducted by Cision and Don Bates of The George Washington University, found that an overwhelming majority of reporters and editors now depend on social media sources when researching their stories. Among the journalists surveyed, 89% said they turn to blogs for story research, 65% to social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and 52% to microblogging services such as Twitter. The survey also found that 61% use Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia.
We all know the statistic and scratch our heads: The average tenure of a CMO is around two years or less. Why? Usually it takes that long to fully understand the intricacies and true insights of most industries, companies and brands. Repeating an action over and over again anticipating a different outcome is a humorous definition of insanity. So are CEOs and boards insane?
Pepsi launched a promotional campaign earlier this month through which it will donate $20 million to good causes identified and voted upon by consumers via the program’s website. "A big brand is letting what used to be called the audience take part in what can become a movement," explained a guru from the firm that designed refresheverything.com. When noting the campaign's connection to selling soda pop, reviewers make glib mentions of "social currency" and "engagement," and are happy to point out that Pepsi broke its 23-year addiction to advertising on the Super Bowl so it could focus on this massive social media experiment. Is it possible that doing something good is an utter waste of marketing money?
Here's what I observed this past week after scanning the reactions of people in my own networks in relation to Google Buzz. People in my own ecosystem seem utterly exhausted by the plethora of networks they manage and the number of people within those networks. E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, Instant Messenger... just how many platforms can we participate in?
Google Inc. said it would revamp the setup process for its new social-networking service Buzz, apologizing to users for raising concerns about the privacy of the product. In a blog post Saturday, Google product manager Todd Jackson said Buzz would no longer automatically subscribe users to follow the postings of their close Gmail contacts, a move that had spooked many users into believing Buzz was publicizing their private relationships. Instead, after reviewing users' Gmail contacts, it would only suggest people that users should follow but leave whether to do so up to them.
Filmmaker Kevin Smith sent a series of exasperated Tweets this weekend claiming that he’d been kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for being “too fat”. Proving, perhaps, the speed at which Twitter (Twitter) can spread messages about your brand, the Tweets have been picked up by the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, ABC and other major outlets. The incident, which took place on Saturday, resulted in dozens of Tweets on Smith’s account (he has 1.6 million followers at the time of writing).
I came to the conclusion today that marketing is destroying the internet, and a part of the reason why many companies are struggling online.
Let's say you'd constituted a drinking game for the aftermath of Tuesday's unveiling of Google Buzz, the odd new mishmash of status messages, geolocation, and social-media aggregation: Take a drink every time some pundit says Google is trying to "kill" Facebook, Twitter, or any number of the "geo" start-ups out there. You'd have been totally blitzed. The cries of "It's a Facebook killer!" and "It's going to kill Twitter!" are tedious, but completely understandable considering that this is one of the first big pushes from Google, which has never been able to get a good grip on social networking, to make inroads in the space. And Buzz is indeed a product that's reactionary as opposed to trailblazing.
Social Media is as revolutionary as it is evolutionary. It represents an important chapter in the ongoing saga and transformation of new media. Over the years, we’ve witnessed that the 10 stages of social media integration in business are almost always set in motion by an internal champion who is determined and impassioned to engender change from the inside out. These champions emerge from different disciplines and departments and are typically role agnostic. Depending on the organization, champions exist in customer service, communications, marketing, interactive, as well as executive management. The change that these champions engender will ultimately represent a revolution in the spirit, philosophy, vision, and framework for organizations, one that increases market relevance and dramatically enhances the opportunity for affinity and fidelity.
One of the greatest challenges I encounter today is not the willingness of a brand to engage, but its ability to create. When blueprinting a social media strategy, enthusiasm and support typically derails when examining the resources and commitment required to produce regular content. Indeed, we are programing the social web around our brand hub, which requires a consistent flow of engaging and relevant social objects. Social objects are the catalysts for conversations — online and in real life — and they affect behavior within their respective societies.
Few brands have had as singular a focus on social media as e.l.f., a cosmetics line that does zero in the way of traditional advertising yet has strong working relationships with about 500 bloggers. As the CMO for e.l.f. (the acronym stands for Eyes Lips Face), Ted Rubin is known for his active use of Twitter (where he has 20,000 followers) and his responsiveness. Rubin, a former protege of Seth Godin, says he responds to every tweet he gets. The social media outreach, along with distribution at Target, a recession-friendly price of $1 per item and a positive review in O: The Oprah Magazine two years ago have helped e.l.f. build a strong brand on the cheap. Brandweek spoke with Rubin about his thoughts on traditional advertising, social media and why larger brands like Coca-Cola can benefit from e.l.f'.'s strategy.
Each Olympics brings one or two novel new events. At the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, which start in Vancouver on Friday, there is Ski Cross, in which four skiers plunge down a mountain at the same time. Then there is an unofficial competition that we’ll call the Social Media Slalom.
Google has entered the social networking play, this time, for real. There’s a lot of market confusion on how they could stack up, so here’s my take. Let’s cut the noise and get to the heart of it with a comparison matrix and analysis based upon my insights talking to these companies in formal settings, observations, as a user, my former research and dealing with the brands trying to reach them.
Social media has matured to the point where marketers are no longer asking whether it should be part of their marketing mix but how and where they should participate. A clear strategy for the channel is now necessary. “The low cost of social media can lull marketers into improvising solutions,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the Insight Brief “Five Reasons Why Marketers Need to Have a Social Media Strategy.” “But taking account of the time spent debating, formulating, managing and executing social media campaigns—not to mention creating content—makes it clear that money is at stake and a well-thought-out plan is needed,” Mr. Verna said.
Have you noticed how much content drives conversation in Social Media today? Take a quick scan of your Twitter stream or Facebook wall and you'll likely notice that the vast majority of tweets and post contain a link to content -- be that video, photo or even written (in the form of an article or post).
In the era of the real-time Web, information travels at a greater velocity than the infrastructure of mainstream media can support as it exists today. As events materialize, the access to social publishing and syndication platforms propels information across attentive and connected nodes that link social graphs all over the world. Current events are now at the epicenter of global attention as social media makes the world a much smaller place.
PepsiCo ditched the Super Bowl this year to make a major social media play. Instead of spending money for ad time on the Super Bowl, it's relying primarily on digital initiatives to spread the word about its Internet-based Refresh Project contest and charity campaign. The cause-marketing effort is a good one. Word is spreading through traditional media, online networks, social media and celebrity chatter. But I believe Pepsi made a big mistake in giving up its long-held Super Bowl ad real estate. A more integrated media approach--one that included the Super Bowl--would be a savvy play for Pepsi. And such integration is something top marketing executives need to keep in mind in their rush to embrace digital initiatives.
At a recent client presentation, colleague Steve Rubel said something which I found to be very insightful. Essentially, we are all media. We act like the media, espousing opinions—reporting from the field (Iran etc.) and in turn media has begun to act like us (blogging, tweeting and becoming more opinionated vs. hard news oriented).
Facebook's and AOL's instant-messaging systems now can link together. It's a step forward--but one that also shows how backward Net communications are today. "AIM has teamed up with Facebook, and now you can chat with your Facebook friends--right from AIM!" gushes the AIM beta download site. "After you sign into AIM, click the 'Facebook Connect' button at the top of your buddy list to set up Facebook chat. When you are done your Facebook friends will be added to your buddy list. You can now chat with your friends who are using the Facebook site!" Maybe I should be happier about this than I am. I can't begrudge Facebook's effort to enrich its members communications' options through its 2008 launch of instant messaging, but I also can't help feeling this is a case of a new-era Internet company making the same missteps as its dot-com 1.0 predecessors.
Occasionally the disconnect between conversation on the web and, well, real conversation, becomes abundantly clear. Take the Super Bowl. As you've no doubt heard, Google ran an ad in the third quarter, which wouldn't be remarkable except that Google never advertises on TV (except a few cable spots for its web browser Chrome last spring) and it had rarely done any brand advertising to consumers.
Although both “international SEO” and “multilingual SEO” have become popular keywords for all types of agencies to target in their own self-promotion efforts and are popular type-ins of the relevant domains, “international social media” isn’t yet anywhere on the radar. The term “social media agency” is searched for in Google just 1,900 times globally per month compared with “seo agency” which hits 9,900. Perhaps the buzz lags behind the reality? Why so? Too difficult, perhaps?
Google has announced plans to add social media-esque updates to its Gmail program. Currently, Gmail users can update their availability through the Gmail chat feature, but it simply consists of “available” or “busy” settings, along with the ability to add a custom message.
Apple clearly recognizes the importance of the mobile web, but did they get trigger happy and launch the iPad too soon? The launch of the new Apple device has lit up the internet with all sorts of criticisms, praises, questions and opinions. A question remains for those of us in the search marketing and social media world—how will these tablets incorporate the use of social media?
With the Super Bowl yesterday came the time-honored Super Bowl commercials, each costing $2.5 million for a 30-second spot. Even Google got in on the game with its first ever spot receiving rave reviews (although the commercial wasn’t new). But which commercials went beyond TV to score on the Web? Reprise Media released a report that ranks Super Bowl advertisers based on the level of integration between their television commercials and presence on the web in terms of search and social media. According to Reprise’s scorecard, Boost Mobile, Home Away,E*Trade and Google were the marketing standouts out of last night’s commercials.
Pepsi's Refresh Project, a first-of-its-kind experiment in social media that invests the brand in community-building projects, won't simply leave a legacy for the recipients of its financial grants. It's also a pivotal test case for other brands trying to navigate an ad-cluttered, cynic-rich marketing landscape.
If you were on Twitter last night during the Super Bowl, you probably had a blast with the rest of us participating in all the chatter around the game, and the commercials. Many of us were using the #brandbowl hashtag to critique the ads in real-time, in fact I was seeing 100 new tweets coming in every couple of minutes. For reference, that's about FOUR times the volume of a busy #blogchat.
It's tough going these days if you work for Toyota or any of its partners. It's tougher being a customer especially with the doubt surrounding loose floor mats and sticking accelerator pads and safety concerns in general. And then there's the perceived broken trust and the lost credibility associated with a brand that seemingly reigned supreme in terms of relationship, bond and loyalty.
American skier Lindsey Vonn, one of the potential stars of the 2010 Winter Olympics, told her nearly 35,000 Twitter followers that she would not be posting to the social network until after the Games were over, perhaps based on a faulty understanding of the International Olympic Committee’s rules on blogging and social networking
Charging into the Super Bowl for the first time, Kia Motors is discovering that buying a 30-second ad during the game, which will air on CBS this Sunday, is opening a few doors, namely a deeper relationship with a very big company: Google. Google is working closely with Kia and nearly all Super Bowl XLIV's 40 Super Bowl advertisers, offering them exposure far beyond the TV. The marketers that are paying up to $2.8 million for each 30-second spot can upload the ads on Google's Super Bowl Ad Blitz page, as they have in the past. But this year Google has added even more features including social media buttons that will make it easy for viewers to pass them along or "tweet" them on Twitter.
Social Media marketing is rapidly earning a role in the integrated marketing mix of small and enterprise businesses and as such, it’s transforming every division from the inside out. What starts with one champion in any given division, be it customer service, marketing, public relations, advertising, interactive, et al, eventually inspires an entire organization to socialize. What starts with one, a domino effect usually ensues toppling each department, gaining momentum, and triggering a sense of urgency through its path. And, it also marks the beginning of our journey through the ten stages of social media integration. But where do we start?
With all the talk about social networks and engagement, when it comes to getting things done, we rely on search. The image above was part of the set I used last Fall at the Inbound Marketing Summit when we talked about the importance of creating content for sharing. There was another interesting study I did not mention at the time that confirms a few of the following statements on social media as content delivery mechanism to:
Don't look now, but big brands are checking in on Foursquare. Pepsi, frozen-dessert chain Tasti D-Lite and cable network Bravo are all attempting to harness the power of the mobile game/social network. The question is whether they'll pay for the privilege. Or whether Foursquare, which has 300,000 users now voluntarily "checking in" at locations, and broadcasting that to their followers, will transcend its current "it" status among the technorati and become a lasting consumer phenomenon -- and a marketing tool.
Before Facebook launched in 2004, were you part of a community? Did you share pictures of your vacation with your friends? Before LinkedIn, did you share details of your business contacts to help out a friend? Before blogs, when someone you knew said something controversial, did you comment on it? Of course you did. Social activity isn't new. We're social creatures, mostly. But why do we act as if online communities are completely new? We make errors in trying to build communities that we would never make in real life. Some of these errors are fundamental. In everyday life, if the conversation only went one way, you'd tell me that you're not going to build a very strong relationship. No one likes to be talked at.
Ask any marketer who has been around for a while what the greatest form of marketing is in the mom market, and he or she will undoubtedly answer "word of mouth." Some may even cleverly call it word of mom. A decade ago, a marketer's dream was to have a mom tell other mothers about their brand or product on the playground. We jumped for joy if moms sitting in focus groups told us that they heard about our product from another mom at a play date. It was difficult to quantify this "word of mouth," but we knew in our guts it was either building brand awareness or driving sales. Then, almost miraculously, the mom blogger was born and suddenly marketers could see and track word of mom in comments, tweets and blog posts
Sounds like a sensationalistic headline, but if you read Morgan Stanley’s latest series of reports on the Mobile Internet, you’ll walk away with the same impression. Morgan Stanley’s global technology and telecom analysts documented the rapidly changing mobile Internet market to provide a framework for emerging trends and direction. To set the stage, Morgan Stanley forecasts that the mobile Internet market will be at least 2x the size of desktop Internet when comparing Internet users to mobile subscribers.
My first exposure to the term "social media" came courtesy of Ted Leonsis, former VP of AOL, back in 1998. At the time, I was one of the leaders of Procter & Gamble's first interactive marketing team, and Leonsis was briefing us on a new tool called ICQ ("I Seek You"), created by an Israeli company AOL had just purchased, Mirabelis. What Leonsis put on our lap was akin to instant messaging on steroids. He had no clue how P&G might take advantage of this curious tool. There was no "ad model," per se, and he even had doubts whether advertising was appropriate. He just thought we needed to internalize its capabilities -- what with tens of millions of global consumers, mostly teens, using an insanely wired and networked desktop device with so many hieroglyphic style icons, it would make your head spin.
If you're involved in social media efforts within your company, are trying to carve out a niche as a social media pro, or just want to understand what this new space is all about, personal web projects are crucial to honing your skills. Here are some tips for making your personal web efforts an effective part of your ongoing professional development.
This Super Bowl, it truly does seem that the name of the game when it comes to advertising is social media. For example, Budweiser recently launched a campaign on Facebook asking fans to choose which commercial will air during the big game. According to AdAge, Budweiser is this year’s biggest advertiser — privy to five minutes of air time. The beer company launched its social media campaign on Friday, and already thousands of people are taking part. The idea, essentially, is to infiltrate every level of Facebook (Facebook). First, you might see the targeted ad for the campaign in your newsstream (see the photo above). If you are so inclined to vote, you must first become a fan of the beer:
Social Media is still a fresh concept for many companies and the resources allocated to these efforts are usually a slim as possible. However, cutting corners to save time could end up hurting you and your accounts down the road. One of the biggest time-saving items that can cause disunity and confusion when speaking to your fans is the use of automatic feeds on social networks.
This year the NFL wants you to “Tag the Super Bowl #SB44″ so that it can collect and aggregate tweets and Flickr photos from fans around the world. The NFL is highlighting the user-tagged Super Bowl content on its new Tag the Super Bowl site, which offers a visually stimulating and unfiltered interactive view of tweets and images that football fans are sharing on Twitter and Flickr with the #SB44 hashtag.
The rate that things happen online tends to influence the rest of our world. It began when instant messaging on PCs made a move to SMS text message on mobile phones, giving friends and lovers instant access to each other whenever and wherever, as long as both were in an area with cellular service. Now, Twitter and Facebook status updates on Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo real-time search let us know the moment someone goes to the bathroom. You get the message.
While the Saints and the Colts get ready to flex their football muscle on the field, big brands are already battling for primetime social media attention. As it stands now, Pepsi and Focus on the Family are the most buzzed-about Super Bowl advertisers. Alterian used SM2, its social media monitoring service, to look at more than 50,000 conversations from the social web and break down the key advertiser pre-game highlights. The summary report of its findings is embedded below.
Decades ago, consumers were invited to “be sociable, have a Pepsi.” Now the brand wants to invite consumers to help Pepsi support social causes — and will use social media like Facebook and Twitter to help spread a message. Pepsi-Cola is formally introducing on Monday an ambitious campaign named the Pepsi Refresh Project, aimed at doing well by doing good. The brand is dedicating at least $20 million through the end of the year for donations to local organizations and causes proposed by the public in realms like health, arts and culture, the environment and education.
Let me start off by saying I don’t play golf, but I do watch and I am a big fan of the sport. Over the past decade, I’ve watched as Tiger Woods has become the face of golf around the world. He is unbelievably important to the game, and that has to change.
General Mills, the big company behind Lucky Charms, Wheaties, Yoplait and other food brands, is one of the nation's largest consumer packaged goods companies, but now it's trying to get cozy with smaller consumer groups. It aims to reach niche groups of food lovers with ads and products, such as gluten-free offerings, through online appeals. Also, in response to growing scrutiny from consumers, regulators and health groups over the nutritional value of food aimed at children, General Mills plans to cut the sugar in many of its cereals to single-digit grams of sugar per serving.
Good friend Stowe Boyd recently shared a quote by Gabriel García Márquez, “Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life, and a secret life.” Indeed, quite simply many of us live life allowing specific, trusted individuals to know us in one or more of our personae. Our moral compass as well as outside influences affect how we balance our three lives. The size and permeability of our personal dividers vary in the separation of each life and resemble doors that open and close based on our desires. We nurture each individually with slight coalescence, but concentrate on the establishment of a distinct ecosystem for cultivating and grooming who we are in public, private, and in secret.
Does someone marketing in today's digital culture need a pricey MBA? Once considered the pinnacle of accomplishment in business, the relevance of the degree has come under question. Clues as to why the criticism might stick could be found at the recent Kellogg School of Management Marketing Conference. Taking a classic approach, event organizers offered scant Wi-Fi and buried the Twitter hashtag in the event brochure. Still, there were important lessons worth learning.
The great and good from the world of social media met Wednesday at Davos and agreed their medium still hasn't reached its full potential, with one speaker joking that the really cool stuff wouldn't happen "until we're dead." This is a frightening prospect when one considers how much our digital and real lives have blurred already. Seven of the 15 most trafficked Web sites in the world are social sites, according to George Colony of Forrester Research, a technology specialist.
A new eMarketer report shows that the number of Baby Boomers embracing social media, especially Facebook, jumped drastically between 2008 and 2009. In its Boomers and Social Media report, eMarketer takes a look at social media adoption among different generations. Results showed that while the percentage of Millennials maintaining a social networking site profile was fairly consistent from 2007 through 2009, the same cannot be said of Baby Boomers’ social media usage.
Pepsi is putting its Super Bowl ad dollars to work by helping communities and bypassing TV spots in the game. Coca-Cola is doing the same -- but using its Super Bowl advertising as a hook. During a press event at the Dunlevy Milbank Boys & Girls Club in Harlem, Coca-Cola detailed plans to donate up to $500,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, with half of the money raised through a Facebook program linked to the Super Bowl.
Madison Avenue is going high and low for Valentine’s Day, as in low prices and high technology. Valentine’s Day is always among the most commercialized holidays on the marketing calendar, offering retailers and advertisers a chance to extract money from those consumers who have managed to refill bank accounts after depleting them for Christmas shopping. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans spent $14.7 billion last year on Valentine’s Day purchases.
It seems that everywhere you turn, businesses, media properties, and brands are asking us to connect with them in the social Web. Whether it’s on TV, in press materials, advertising, or email, brands are vying for our “friendship.” In July 2009, Bill McCloskey in partnership with StrongMail, analyzed the email marketing campaigns of top brands and how they integrated social profiles into the marketing presentation. McCloskey observed that top brands were reviving email campaigns with the inclusion of links to social profiles, specifically Facebook, Twitter, and also MySpace.
It’s been almost two years since Starbucks jumped into the deep waters of social media with their MyStarbucksIdea.com program. This is a website where customers submit and discuss ideas on ways Starbucks can improve its business. Over 80,000 ideas have been submitted and late last year, Starbucks informed us over 50 ideas from customers have been implemented. Cool. Sounds great. Sounds impactful. But wait, let’s take a closer look at these customer-driven ideas Starbucks has "implemented."
Money spent on social media-related advertising is already expected to grow significantly this year, and now we also know that the medium is considered the top priority in the digital space according to a survey of senior marketers.
Procter & Gamble Co. loves Facebook after all, and besides encouraging brands to develop a presence there, the world's biggest marketer has opened an office in Silicon Valley to help develop social-networking systems and digital-marketing capabilities with the website. Those messages came in a meeting last week between P&G executives and venture capitalists, recounted by David Hornik on VentureBlog in a post that quickly picked up currency over the weekend on, of all places, Twitter.
Happiness is contagious, and that "contagious" quality is where design meets the market. Coca-Cola's Happiness Machine video is a perfect example of how viral happiness can be. The brand's first viral venture captures what happened when they placed a very special vending machine on a college campus. The video launched on January 12 and topped a million views today based solely on people sharing the video through Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and word-of-mouth. The people in the video and people spreading the video will forever share a memory that cements the association of happiness with Coca-Cola.
You’ve heard the phrase. You’ve probably even said it before. But in this age of “everyone has a voice and a way to broadcast it out into the world,” is it really still true? Okay, okay, I know the premise of it is true. That we are supposed to go out of our way to accommodate our customers so they will have a uber-positive experience. And positive experiences get talked about. You know - word of mouth in action.
One of the most common fears I focus on defeating among executives and brand managers is that in new media brands lose control by publishing content and engaging in social networks. The general sentiment is that by sharing information and creating presences within public communities that they, by the nature of democratized participation, invite negative responses in addition to potentially positive and neutral interaction. By not fully embracing the social Web, many believe that they retain a semblance of control. The idea is that if brands abstain from providing a forum for hosting potentially disparaging commentary, it will prevent it from earning an audience – in this case, an audience that can impact the business and the reputation of the brand.
"Eighty percent of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but only 8 percent of their customers agree." [Bain & Company, Harvard Management Update] I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, of course. However, there might be a few areas of improvement that have not have crossed your mind yet. First off, let's define what we mean by "customer experience". From Wikipedia: Customer experience is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier.
We’ve all experienced it. Perhaps you’ve even felt it yourself. You learn of a new marketing tactic – and you just gotta have it… you gotta do it. Your factory needs to be on Facebook. Your team needs to tweet. Alas, sometimes love can be blinding. While your passion may be genuine, there are two things you could be forgetting…
In December 2008, global consumers spent an average of just over three hours on social networks. In December 2009, they were spending over five and a half hours on average. An increase of 82%. According to The Nielsen Company, social network sites have grown in importance globally in 2009. Alongside blogs, they are now the most popular category online when ranked by time spent on site. The survey (which looked at the US, U.K., Australia, Brazil, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) shows not only that overall time on site has increased, but also that the global audience for social networking has increased.
A single TwitPic of a napping transit ticket collector in Toronto, Canada has jump-started a major controversy that has made Toronto’s transit agency, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), the target of citizen and media anger.
We looked back at 2009 to see that, in many cases, companies struggled to keep up with customers using social technologies. With technologies changing every few months, senior marketers must have a plan for social marketing. But first, to understand what to do, they should consider what's going to happen in this space in 2010.
Almost three years ago, I wrote a piece on Facebook's monetization strategy. At that time, Facebook was rumored to be valued at $10 billion with revenues of approximately $150 million--a level that clearly did not justify the valuation. Since then, Facebook has executed well and built up real, sustainable revenue models around its application developer network. I cannot help thinking, though, that my strategy advice to the company from three years back still remains valid. So, here it is again, folks. Listen up!
I don’t know if you’ve ever asked yourself the question from the title, but we’re about to get an answer. AFP writes that five French journalists have agreed to lock themselves in a farmhouse in France for five days, where they’ll write news based only on what they read on Twitter and Facebook. The rules are: no smartphones, no web surfing. They will be given cellphones that cannot connect to the internet, but from the story it’s unclear whether they’ll be able to verify the news they see on Facebook and Twitter (probably not, as the experiment would make little sense then).
MarketingProfs recently published a fantastic report on the equality of B2B and B2C adoption and practice of social media. In “The State of Social Media Marketing,” the 242-page report shared how over 5,000 marketers and business professionals use social media to create award winning campaigns, measure ROI, and reach audiences. Jay Baer offers an interesting analysis at Convince and Convert. More of my thoughts on the subject of B2B and B2C social media are shared in my post, “The Business of Social Media.”
It took the telephone 45 years to penetrate half the homes in America; radio, less than 20; color TV, 15; computers, 10; cellphones, eight; and the internet, a mere six years. The speed of change is accelerating. Five years ago Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Hulu and the iPhone didn't exist. Today Facebook has 350 million members; Twitter boasts 30 million; and Hulu is the second biggest "channel" in America, having surpassed Time Warner Cable. Technology now has profound impact on consumer behavior. Take brand loyalty, for example. Smartphones enable consumers to comparison shop on the basis of price at the point of sale. The democratization of information may result in commoditization of brands as consumers make purchase decisions by searching for the lowest-priced product. Technology may also alter the purchase cycle and give rise to powerful third-party influencers, counterbalancing paid media's "management" of the purchase cycle. These are transformational shifts for brands.
What would you do if you surveyed your customers and they all said you suck? It may seem like a worst case scenario, but companies are faced with this challenge more often than you would think. It is not easy to hear, and in part it is the reason many companies simply don't survey their customers that often. It is easier to look just at metrics like sales or growth and use those to measure success. After all, why bother to ask customers what they really think if you are making money? The problem with this logic is that it doesn't help you to spot threats to your business and plan for the future. Making money is a temporary state ... and one that can be more fragile than you realize.
It happened last year, around the first of July. In my experience, the switch was just about that abrupt. All last spring, most senior business leaders I met shrugged off the business applicability of Web 2.0. Allowing access to social networks in the workplace was something they were willing to consider only if it was absolutely necessary to keep younger employees from complaining. Twitter? What was that? But by summer, the conversations I was having with senior executives about the use of these new technologies took on a very different tone. Recognition grew that 2.0 technologies could be used to change the way work gets done in fundamental ways. Interest in exploring these new ways of working, of sharing information, of collaborating to enhance productivity and meet business goals, was here.
Two and a half years ago, Charlene Li and I introduced Social Technographics, a way to analyze your market's social technology behavior. Social Technographics was carefully constructed, not as a segmentation, but as a profile (that is, the groups overlap). That's because the actual data told me that people participate in multiple behaviors, and not everyone at a higher level on the ladder actually does everything in the lower rungs.
Normally China's internet censorship is a topic of hot interest for the Human Rights crowd at the State Department, but the fate of Google.cn in China should be watched closely by marketers, too. If the search site does disappear from the mainland, more is at stake than just paid search opportunities. Google is a key player in drawing advertisers to online media. The web -- and particularly the growing number of social networks -- have found the U.S. company to be a key catalyst for online marketing efforts.
Social media has a loyal tribe of disciples. We follow each other on Twitter (Twitter), connect on Facebook (Facebook), read each other’s blogs and listen to each other at conferences. We provide each other moral support and though we are a minority, we have religion and we are here to change the world (I’m not joking). Most importantly, we share stories. These stories are all about finding common ground and building a defensible position on the what/why/how of our new orthodoxy; what is “social”, why you need it, how it actually works and how you measure it.
Right before the holidays, MarketingSherpa released its “2010 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report.” The report indicated that “improving brand or product reputation” and “increasing brand or product awareness” did not rank highly in the list of social media objectives targeted and measured by U.S. marketers. This confirms my own findings that companies are overlooking the importance of using social media tools for strategic, proactive brand-building.
We’ve seen some major world events unfold on the social media stage this week, the biggest being Google’s threat to pull out of China and the Haiti earthquake. Google’s (Google) actions have brought attention back to the long-standing Internet censorship that blankets China, while the destruction in Haiti has mobilized hundreds of thousands to open their wallets and their hearts. Just like the Iran Election crisis, people are again assessing the impact of social media on the world. It’s clear that social media has the power to impact world politics and the lives of billions, but some have overstated what social media can actually do. We need to understand what social media really is in order to utilize it effectively for social good. Let me explain by highlighting a few examples of social media’s impact on the world stage, and then concluding with how I view social media’s impact in the larger context of mobilization and world discussion.
In spite of what you may have read, Jeff Zucker, the chief executive of NBC Universal, didn’t kill “The Tonight Show,” and neither did Jay Leno. And as much as NBC would like you to think it, Conan O’Brien didn’t do in the show with his bare hands either. The people who are responsible? That would be you and me.
Three-quarters of Japanese social network users access the sites only from their mobile phones. This observation comes from a survey conducted last year with almost 4,000 social network users in Japan by Mobile Marketing Data Labo. They found that 75.4% of respondents only accessed social networking sites from their mobile phone (and not from their PC). The number only accessing it from their PC (and not their mobile phone) was very low at just 2%.
When I learned that Mark Zuckerberg effectively argued that 'the age of privacy is over', I wanted to scream. Actually, I did. And still am. The logic goes something like this: * People I knew didn't used to like to be public. * Now "everyone" is being public. * Ergo, privacy is dead. This isn't new. This is the exact same logic that made me want to scream a decade ago when folks used David Brin to justify a transparent society. Privacy is dead, get over it. Right? Wrong!
In 2010, Social Media will rapidly escalate from novelty or perceived necessity to an integrated and strategic business communications, service, and information community and ecosystem. Our experiences and education will foster growth and propel us through each stage of the Social Media Marketing evolution. As MarketingSherpa observes, “2010 is the year where social media marketers gain the experience required to advance from novice to competent practitioner capable of achieving social marketing objectives and proving ROI.” It’s a powerful prediction and it’s one that I also believe. This is your year to excel, teach, and create your own destiny.
While China’s censorship policies are prompting Google to consider quitting its operations in the country, some technology companies see the restrictions as a golden business opportunity. More than a million people in China, including human rights activists and expatriates, are using special software to circumvent the nation’s complex online censorship system, known as the “Great Firewall.” This has created a booming market for software companies, which are capitalizing on the growing desire of China’s Internet users to fanqiang, or scale the wall, to visit Web sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter
Ford Motor Company integrated social media into its marketing in a big way in 2009, and this year is moving 25% of its traditional media budget to the digital space. Earlier this week, Ford further demonstrated its commitment to social and digital tools as a way to reach out to new media and, of course, new audiences.
When Barry Judge, chief marketing officer of Best Buy, started his Twitter feed in mid-2008, he was anxious. He recalls fretting: "What if my tweets are boring, and what if no one follows me?" He had worked at Best Buy for more than eight years at that point but he was a social media neophyte. Now Judge finds himself tweeting a couple times a day. He has nearly 14,000 followers. Now he can't imagine doing his job without using social media, which he uses to communicate with Best Buy colleagues and customers.
We're not even a month into 2010 and The Economist has already declared it to be "The year of the pay wall." "There are plenty of examples of paid content thriving even when free alternatives are available," according to the magazine. "Punters are happy to pay for multichannel television even though commercial broadcast television is free. Such alternatives thrive because they offer desirable content. One considerable advantage to building a pay wall is that it forces newspapers to think hard about what their customers (as opposed to their advertisers) might really want."
Brette Borow is the President and Founder of Girls Guide To, the “ladies only” guide to life, and spends most of her days engaging with the community’s over 140,000 members. There are over 56 million women using Facebook in the United States, and for marketers this means one very important thing –- if you have a brand, product or company that targets women, Facebook is the place to be.
Social Media impacts every business, every brand, and in doing so, connects a network of distributed communities of influence, making the world a much smaller place in the process. Small businesses are in fact at an advantage in Social Media Marketing as they can focus on hyper-local activity that can offer immediate rewards or at the very least, the real-time feedback or lack thereof says everything about next steps.
My, how the digital times are a-changin'. We're downsizing to small screens, friending the world, thinking in 140 characters and downloading -- dare I say -- "billions and billions" of apps designed to make everything we do simpler, faster and more convenient (well, we think). And so, only days into 2010, it seems fitting to take a big look over my shoulder (and even into the mirror) and affix labels and buzzwords to our curious stampede to the social media and mobile future. Here's my top 20.
There are moments in life that we have have experienced that put all the other moments to shame. These are moments when suddenly everything seems to come together at once. An idea is formed, a solution is realized, a problems is solved. At the pinnacle of these moments, there is a sub-moment. A sliver of time where everything just seems to click into place. LEGO recognizes that moment, and wants to help everyone who ever yells “eureka” to share that moment with the world and each other. So LEGO created a new portal to bring every inventor, artist, innovator, and creative person to one place. This place is called LEGO CLICK.
An overnight success ten years in the making, social media is as transformative as it is evolutionary. At last, 2010 is expected to be the year that social media goes mainstream for business. In speaking with many executives and entrepreneurs, I’ve noticed that the path towards new media enlightenment often hinges on corporate culture and specific marketplace conditions. Full social media integration often happens in stages — it’s an evolutionary process for companies and consumers alike. Here are the ten most common stages that businesses experience as they travel the road to full social media integration.
Though Google’s social strategy has been catch-up at best to date, the company does have a master plan — at least according to engineering director David Glazer, whom I spoke with last week at Google HQ. He said across a variety of products, Google wants to make it valuable and easy to harness social information. In 2010, Google plans to expose and elicit more of the social network built into the tools that many of us already use — Gmail, Google Talk, etc. If you use Google products, the company already knows who your most important contacts are, what your core interests are, and where your default locations are. Glazer said to expect many product and feature launches that start to connect that information in useful ways.
What in the name of Steve Jobs is Ashton Kutcher doing here? It’s 11 on a September morning in Silicon Valley — a time when any decent Hollywood celebrity should be sleeping off yesternight’s revels in a hyperbaric chamber at the Chateau Marmont, or, at most, Tweeting what’s in today’s egg-white omelet. Yet here’s Kutcher, the Puckish prince of Twitter (over four million followers and counting), emerging from the back of a dowdy Lincoln Town Car and stepping into Downtown Nerdburg. He’s fresh off the plane, and looking about as casual as a shaggy six-foot sex symbol is capable of looking against the pleated-khaki backdrop of Mountain View, CA. Which is to say, he looks perfect (the well-tempered bedhead peeking from beneath the carefully selected ball cap, the zippered sweater hanging just-so on that vertiginous Rem Koolhaas boneframe) and also perfectly out of place, his personal perihelion of Dionysian awesomeness at odds with these Dilbertian precincts.
I spend a great deal of time working within the B2B sector, among other things, and social media is a growing and or pervasive program within a comprehensive, integrated communications and service strategy. In almost every scenario I’ve encountered, executives, marcom and service executives, and brand managers have generally assumed that social and interactive activities and programming were ideally best suited for consumer applications. However, as we recently explored, in Social Media, it’s not just business, it’s business-to-business.
The Simulcam and Fusion 3D camera inventions were not the only technologies that made James Cameron’s Sci-Fi epic Avatar a massive box office success. While smaller films have used social media to spread the word guerrilla-style, no other major blockbuster has employed a full-on social web marketing assault quite like Avatar. The results in its case were a $232 million opening weekend, a total of one billion dollars in revenue by year’s end, and the rank of #2 highest grossing film of all time. Cameron’s $500 million act of hubris has paid off. Here’s an outline of the social media moves Avatar’s team made to achieve success.
The buzz is palpable about Apple's plans to announce a tablet computer later this month. I think it's instructive as to the function and uses of conversation. Apple is a company that has utterly shunned the social media campaigns that have displaced more old-fashioned ways to waste consumers' time. It has no Twitter feed, provides no payola to twentysomethings so that they’ll blog about its products, and I bet it would happily ignore a request for comment from the President if asked. It doesn't talk. Apple does.
Procter & Gamble is taking a nontraditional tack to help Tide, the best-selling detergent in America, fend off challenges from lower-priced rivals as strapped consumers continue to ponder practically every purchase. An image campaign for Tide, now under way, eschews the brand’s long-time pitches celebrating its ability to get clothes clean. The most recent such ads, which began appearing in 2007, carried the theme “Tide knows fabrics best.”
Osocio is happy to announce a list of ten nominees for the Osocio’s Best Campaign of 2009 award. Osocio has started selecting best campaigns featured on our blog, because we want to put the most creative and innovative social ads into spotlights. So that non-profit organizations can learn and benefit from these best practices. We don’t intend to compete with big advertising festivals. Our aim is to award grassroots initiatives and advertising campaigns that try to solve real-life problems. Let’s not forget that Osocio is the place where advertising and activism collide.
Ford recently wrapped the first chapter of its Fiesta Movement, leaving us distinctly wiser about marketing in the digital space. Ford gave 100 consumers a car for six months and asked them to complete a different mission every month. And away they went. At the direction of Ford and their own imagination, "agents" used their Fiestas to deliver Meals On Wheels. They used them to take Harry And David treats to the National Guard. They went looking for adventure, some to wrestle alligators, others actually to elope. All of these stories were then lovingly documented on YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter.
Threadless, a Chicago T-shirt company, sprang to life a decade ago with the idea that employees and customers don't have to be two distinct groups. The Internet-based company asks consumers to submit shirt designs they've created--it gets as many as 300 submissions a day--and allows its large fan base to vote on the ones they like best. It pays winners, more than 300 each year, $2,000 for their creations. The company picks the best of the most popular T-shirt designs, screens them for copyright violations and obscenities, and sells them on its site within three to eight weeks for $18. It aims to release seven new designs a week.
The world is changing like crazy these days. We've got new cell phone technologies, the Apple iTablet, 3D TV, pico projectors and whatever else comes out of CES this week. We'll continue to change our ability to connect with consumers every where they go. Of course, the more we create ways to reach the consumers, the more they find ways to disconnect from us. In the end, it's all about creating compelling, authentic and relevant brand experiences. No matter what changes take place; no matter what new technologies come down the pike, that need won't change.
As we all rub our eyes from the social-media explosion of 2009, you might think that brand marketers have all (forgive the pun) gotten the message: Ignore Web chatter at your peril. Domino’s got it—publicly, infamously—back in April, when a gross-out vid popped up on YouTube showing employees placing various mucosal toppings on the pizzas. The company took a glacial 24 hours to respond—23 hours after the damage had already been done. And who can forget Dell’s own Road to Damascus back in 2005 when Jeff Jarvis’ “Dell Hell” blog undid millions in “Dude” advertising goodwill?
Procter & Gamble is going out of its way to get more people involved in its 36-year-old People's Choice Awards, a sign of how TV producers are quickly tweaking the way they make their shows to cater to emerging viewer habits. This year, P&G is trying to rework the program's tried-and-true formula. The consumer-products giant, which maintains a TV-production arm, has enlisted reality-TV impresario Mark Burnett to helm this year's broadcast, loosened up and broadened the voting process, restructured the flow of the awards program itself and worked diligently to fan enthusiasm for the program well before it hits CBS Wednesday evening.
A September 2009 MarketingProfs survey of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers found that the marketing tactics most often used on social sites are not necessarily the best ones. The most common marketing tactic used on Facebook was attempting to drive traffic to corporate materials through status updates, followed by friending customers.
The car business has been notoriously slow at embracing aspects of the Internet since the beginning. Social media is no exception. In 2010, more in the industry from manufacturers down to dealers will learn to engage in social media or be left behind.
Strap on your trend radar. The doldrums of December always bring out people's Inner Prognosticator. But this year, with a recession the marketing world can't wait to leave behind and some extra "end of the aughts" oomph, we at Marketing Daily have been extra-busy fending off forecasts. Our favorite so far? Turquoise. Pantone recently named it the color of the year, for its "deep compassion and healing, a color of faith and truth, inspired by water and sky." We also like Iconoculture's prediction that everything about water will be hot.
By the time you read this, James Cameron's "Avatar" could very well have become the fifth movie in history to gross more than $1 billion worldwide at the box office, helped along by pricey tickets that brought in a projected $325 million domestically after only three weekends in theaters. So how did 20th Century Fox pull off what could be its highest-grossing movie of all time without the aid of a franchise, an A-list star or a historical event, created by a filmmaker who hasn't had a blockbuster ("Titanic") in 12 years?
Marsha Collier is a speaker, teacher, and writer of many business books, including a series of “..For Dummies” books about Ebay and online retail in general. She is Social Media Spokesperson at The Collier Company, Inc. based in Los Angeles. I asked Marsha what she was busy with these days.
Most companies now realize how important social media guidelines are for setting the ground rules for employees' usage of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, etc. The best guidelines encourage users to be responsible and respectful, indicate how confidential information should be handled, and reiterate the corporate rules of business conduct. But even the most robust guidelines are written and used primarily as Defense. The intent is to protect the company and its brand name. Companies need to play Offense too.
One of the most compelling aspects of the location-based service Foursquare is that they are increasingly enticing users to check-in to venues by partnering up to offer special deals to those who do. A person who checks-in at a coffee shop and shows the barista, may get a free coffee, for example. It’s a win-win for both the service and the venue because it gets people using the app more and gets people visiting the venue more. But what if users and venues go around Foursquare and start using Twitter for that?
Some have asked, Where does social media live? Is it marketing? Is it public relations? Is it IT or corporate? Is it a combination of multiple business units and functions, and if so, who leads the efforts and how does an organization choose partners? These are valid and complex questions, currently with no simple answers. Social media is still emerging and being defined in real time. There's a question missing from that litany, one that organizations or individuals rarely ask themselves: Do you live social? Many organizations simply skip this question because they assume that they themselves don't have to be social (open and collaborative) to reap the rewards (cost savings, marketing ROI, effective reputation management, and search engine juice) they think they might get from social media.
As a veteran PR counselor specializing in the creative marketing services space, I avidly track the evolution of media channels, especially the growing challenge that "social media" poses to "traditional media" for marketplace dominance. When working to develop leadership positions for emerging companies, an understanding of which media will most profoundly impact one's reputation and positively influence prospective clients is key. So a radical shift in the media landscape poses new challenges to practitioners as they develop media relations campaigns designed to elevate clients to industry spokes-company status.
Marketing may resemble warfare from time to time, but if you play by the rules of war -- dividing commerce into winners and losers -- you will eventually be defeated. The relationships which are the true foundation of marketing have always been consensual. Misunderstand this in this, the Age of Limitless Choices, and you're cooked.
Mark Titus is smart enough that he was recruited to play basketball at Harvard and missed one question on the math section of the SAT. He is bizarre enough that he spent spring break of his senior year of high school attending WrestleMania XXII dressed up, with his best friend, Andy Keller, as the 1980s tag-team duo the Rockers. They also attended a live taping of Jerry Springer’s talk show. Those smarts and verve have helped make Titus one of the popular players in college basketball, a mind-boggling anomaly given that he is a little-used walk-on with a career high of 3 points. His Club Trillion blog — clubtrillion.blogspot.com — chronicles “Life Views from the End of the Bench” and has been visited by more than 1.9 million people in a little more than a year.
Imagine a planetarium-style presentation about the future of technology, followed by a tour of dozens of hands-on exhibits — whether of sandlike microparticles that flow like liquid in a beaker, pictures that appear three-dimensional or concrete that floats. Is it the latest science museum, or a new Disney attraction? No, it’s the “World of Innovation” showroom, a cornerstone of the 3M Company’s customer innovation center at its headquarters in St. Paul. In a world of online user communities, social media, interactive blogs and other technological means for companies to elicit customer feedback, you might think that face-to-face interaction is a thing of the past. Think again.
The recession has caused many savvy shoppers to gravitate to the do-it-yourself (DIY) category, but another level of consumer involvement is also growing: design-your-own (DYO). Keds, for example, is not only encouraging their customers to participate in the design of their own shoes, but the brand is also including them in the promotion and sales of the DYO products, effectively making consumers business partners.
As we close out the year, it's important to look back at what happened in social marketing in order to plan for the future. There were four key trends in 2009 that CMOs should reflect on, starting at the macro level then shifting down to micro real-time updates.
If you oversee a brand and your goal for 2010 is to start listening to people via Social Media, don’t read this post. Bookmark this post and read it in six months. If however, you’ve spent most of 2009 listening then please, by all means, read on.
As much as we (rightly) praise Google for having transformed our lives for the better, sometimes we all want answers that go beyond the right search query. Sometimes we want to reach out to someONE rather than someTHING. But engaging in a conversation requires trust. And just as no newsletter sign-up form or invitation should be without trust-building assurances and privacy statements, no social media invitation or landing page should be without its own persuasive and trust-building cues.
Facebook, the popular networking site, has 350 million members worldwide who, collectively, spend 10 billion minutes there every day, checking in with friends, writing on people’s electronic walls, clicking through photos and generally keeping pace with the drift of their social world. Make that 9.9 billion and change.
The fine line between search and social media marketing programs is growing thinner every day. People toggle back and forth among Google, Facebook, and Twitter to find deals, connect with brands, and start the purchase process. What's more, many sites are now finding upwards of 20% of inbound traffic is coming from "shared links" that people pass along via social networks -- giving paid search ads a run for their traffic-driving money! One of the main questions I hear from our brand clients is: "How can I integrate all this social media stuff into my already highly productive search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) programs to make all of my marketing initiatives deliver more ROI?"
Condensing The Economist’s thoughtful articles into 140-character bursts may challenge the synthesising skills of its reporters. But that this most established of media organisations should embrace social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook shows the value that publishers and broadcasters attach to them.
Italian writer, blogger and photographer Vincenzo Cosenza has for the second time put together a visualization that shows the most popular social networks around the world on a map, based on the most recent traffic data (December 2009) as measured by Alexa & Google Trends for Websites.
Imagine crowd-sourcing the entire world before launching a product and not spending one penny for a marketing campaign. You could gain insight from reporters, analysts and consumers about the types of services that would and wouldn't work. The online audience segment you address could become your buyers. You might even determine a fair market price for the product, or gain insight into the continent where the product should launch first. And if the product happened to be a mobile phone, you could even determine the best carrier to bundle services. Even if the phone doesn't exist now, Google has proven that the market is ripe for the company to jump on in. And to think it all started with a blog post and a few Twitter tweets from Google employees.
An ambitious web series, "If I Can Dream," is launching in early 2010 with three distribution partners, two major sponsors and one goal -- to do for web video what "American Idol" did for broadcast TV in 2002. One reason it has a chance to do that: 19 Entertainment's Simon Fuller, creator of "American Idol," is the brains behind it
Subway and MTV Networks have forged a partnership to bring emerging artists, comedians and musicians to a wider audience through a digital marketing program being promoted as "Subway Fresh Buzz." The program, which will feature profiles, performances and exclusive content from 20 performers, will be anchored by SubwayFreshBuzz. MTVIggy.com and will be promoted through the MTV Network of Web sites and digital properties, including social media platforms.
Twitter continues to explore and appraise long-term revenue models. For the time being, Twitter’s primary focus is to build and nurture a thriving and indispensable community. Equally critical is the company’s ability to steer engineering and marketing efforts towards developers to empower them to extend, evolve, and enhance the overall Twitter experience for the vast landscape of discerning users as well as those new members who have yet to realize its potential. In July 2009, we were introduced to Twitter’s new monetization strategy. The company veered its attention and resources towards businesses, initially releasing a series of documents and use cases to help companies, large and small, embrace the capacity and techniques for connecting with customers, prospects, and peers directly in Twitter. Then in August, Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone revealed that the company’s initial revenue would funnel from businesses seeking a more meaningful return tied to performance metrics.
Some things amaze me, like this year's social media and content marketing predictions list. What does one sent email and two tweets equal? Over 100 predictions from 60+ of the best and the brightest in marketing, content marketing, custom publishing and social media. No kidding! Just check out this list below.
How Ashton Kutcher is pioneering a new kind of media business, bridging Hollywood, technology, and Madison Avenue. Really.
This time last year, I wrote about the 10 ways social media will change 2009, and while all predictions have materialized or are on their way, it has only become clear in recent months how significant of a change we've seen this year. 2009 will go down as the year in which the shroud of uncertainty was lifted off of social media and mainstream adoption began at the speed of light. Barack Obama's campaign proved that social media can mobilize millions into action, and Iran's election protests demonstrated its importance to the freedom of speech.
We are witnessing a profound change in the media and advertising industries due to the emergence of social media. Companies that did not exist ten years ago, like Facebook and Twitter, have captured significant share of the attention economy from traditional publishers. Underscoring this trend is the fact that at the same time that Businessweek was selling for less than $5 million (plus assumption of debts) to Bloomberg, Foursquare’s pretty cousin Gowalla drove up Sand Hill road and collected $8.4 million for a minority stake. Amidst this disruption, media companies are chasing after “their” audience in order to continue to broker the attention of that audience to marketers. But just at the moment that media has mastered the art of blogging, search engine optimization and CPM yield management, they are now faced with a new set of consumer behaviors that elude their programming faculties: mobile devices, location-based services and the social graph.
At this year's Media Mavens annual luncheon in New York, Advertising Age honored 16 of the industry's most innovative thinkers from big name marketers including Kraft, Coca-Cola, Ford and Burger King. Honorees, however, had to earn their lunch by answering questions that show off just how smart they are. Here are six bits of wisdom that Ad Age's Media Mavens imparted this year, including what their clients are looking for, what the necessary elements for a successful social media campaign are, how to evolve a well-known brand into a services company and what technologies have the potential to be successful marketing mediums.
Social Media is rooted in relationships, the dynamic interaction and collaboration between real people. We learned and continue to learn how to communicate in public forums, evolving our personal views on privacy and uncertainty as we transform from digital introverts to social extroverts. This is our industrial revolution and its reward for participation is relevance. The socialization of online societies democratized the publishing industry and equalized influence.
Chefs and restaurants have become reliable subjects for reality television series. The drama! The conflict! The recipes! So it should not come as a surprise that a campaign is offering diners a peek at a new eatery through a live video feed. An ad campaign for the D’Amico Kitchen Osteria and Bar is offering diners a peek at a new eatery through a live video feed.
Over the past year, Mashable has written extensively on the value of social media to small businesses. We have also contributed regularly on this topic to the American Express Open Forum. From the fundamentals of Twitterbranding, to the importance of blogging, to getting work done with some great online tools, small businesses face many challenges when trying to understand how to use social media. However, taking the time to learn how to leverage social media and technology to benefit your business will pay big dividends in the long run.
Sit next to your audience, listen to them, and give them what they want and need - whether it's yours or not. This is the winning model of a new media company, Amazon. Yes, you heard that correctly. It was one of the two examples I discussed with John Hagel, co-chairman of Deloitte's Center for the Edge recently. Amazon answered the question "what business are we in?" and used that answer to create value. Ask that question in your business when you're ready to challenge your assumptions and mindset. If you're in technology, telecommunications, media and automotive, you might want to do that sooner rather than later.
What if your organization or your client has done nothing? What if they've just watched the last fourteen years go by? No real website, no social media, no permission assets. What if now they're ready and they ask your advice? And, by the way, they have no real cash to spend..
Online video continues to capture the attention of producers and viewers, with the market as well as industry leaders, leading us into a more pervasive form of video entertainment, communication and education. With YouTube quickly transforming from a user-generated video network into an invaluable repository for content, the associated behavior for creating, uploading, discovering, and watching online videos is evolving. What many have yet to realize are the effects YouTube has aroused. It is where many online experiences begin and end.
Even though retailers are hoping for much stronger sales than last year, they're not spending more on marketing to get them. BDO Seidman's poll of retailing CMOs reports that 55% say this year's holiday advertising budget is flat this year. In last year's survey, only 43% said so. Only 19% have upped the ad ante, leaving 26% who have cut spending. But the results may be a little misleading, Catherine Fox-Simpson, a partner in the firm's retail and consumer product practice, tells Marketing Daily. "Ad pricing is down significantly this year," she says. "Ad space costs a lot less now than it did a few years ago, so retailers can get a lot more bang for their buck. Even if advertising budgets are flat, there could be significantly more advertising now than in years past simply by virtue of pricing being down."
Marketing spend these days is all about justification. I'm glad that the use of social media is quickly moving from "shiny object" darling to why should my business use it? The latter is a much better question. One that will get us somewhere, not necessarily faster but more real. The ROI question pops up everywhere these days. I do wonder how do you measure your other business activities? Do you measure marketing? Do you hold advertising accountable? Do you know what works, what doesn't? How about public relations? Finance? HR? IT? Any ROI calculations handy on those?
The news of the day in social media land: Twitter is apparently going to start experimenting with paid premium accounts through its Japanese subsidiary, which has always been a bit separated from the rest of Twitter and in many ways a playground for the company (Groups, Twicco, Twitvideo.jp). Details are sketchy at this point, but Japanese media are reporting that Twitter is going to introduce a tiered payment model and aims to charge people to view tweets from certain premium Twitter accounts.
US retailers were on Friday unleashing a traditional barrage of post-Thanksgiving holiday shopping promotions, with the National Retail Federation expecting 134m Americans to head for the stores. This year, however, the retailers have reinforced their traditional efforts with an array of social-networking weapons including Twitter, the micro-blogging website. Retailers including discounters Target and Walmart, and department store groups Macy’s, Kohl’s and JC Penney have used Facebook pages to publish the “doorbuster” and “early bird” deals traditionally announced in newspaper advertising inserts on Thanksgiving, the day before “Black Friday” – so called because it was once the day on which retailers’ ledgers for the year moved out of the red and into the black.
If you are a pundit, or get paid to watch trends, then this message doesn't apply to you. It's your job to go out and find the next shiny object that could influence how we live and do business. But if you're in the trenches of an organization, my advice is to stop acting like or listening to pundits. Stop looking for the next Twitter. Why? It's simple—because the odds are you already have plenty of projects and ideas with proven potential that you need to improve on without worrying about the next thing you'll start. Here are a few thought-starters based on observations I've made about all of "yesterday's Twitters" that need some care and feeding before you start looking for the next Twitter. Perhaps some may hit close to home for you.
I believe if Social Media warranted a mantra, it would look something like this, “Always pay it forward and never forget to pay it back…it’s how you got here and it defines where you’re going.” This is the credo I live by and something that has only been reinforced as part of my daily regiment, online and in the real world. Paying it forward and paying it back is the balladry of reciprocity, the undercurrent of social media and the currency of the social economy. The words, “what comes around goes around” and the overall spirit of karma reminds us that there may be personal rewards and satisfaction for helping and contributing more than we take away from our environment. In sociology, this form of alternative giving is referred to as “generalized reciprocity” or “generalized exchange.” In the same vein, the idea of giving something to one person by paying another is credited to Benjamin Franklin, which would ultimately serve as the defining foundation to “Pay it forward.”
When you look at Oprah Winfrey’s multidecade run through daytime talk — most of it at No. 1 — it’s easy to be impressed by what she did to make it happen. But her longevity and success (Forbes estimated her net worth at over $2.3 billion) probably has more to do with what she did not do.
Earlier this year we posted a series of examples of online communities in the TV industry. We looked at the way ‘old’ and ‘new’ media combine, how television broadcasters and production companies are working with online media. The examples we chose were all of ways in which online communities can be used to provide an additional set of experiences for a viewer, often after a programme has aired. From Channel Four’s Sexperience online community which supported the Sex Education Show to HGTV’s Rate My Space online community for people to share home improvement photos and tips.
As Second City moved down to fourth in its failed bid to host the 2016 Olympics, President Obama elected to use a sports metaphor to soften the blow. Noted the First Chicagoan upon his return from Copenhagen, "You can play a great game and still not win." Looking ahead to 2010, marketers will need steadfast agility just to stay in the game, much less to hit the finish line ahead of the competition. Here are seven ideas, wrapped in Olympic glory, that should deliver the gold.
The Future of the Social Web is here today and we’re learning that engagement is not a matter of if or when, but to what extent, how and what value can we deliver and derive from it. The Social Web is much more than a window into information and interaction, it is a completely transformative medium that is changing how we forge relationships, interact with one another, and distribute and discover information. In many ways, the online social revolution is reminiscent of the Industrial Revolution. Access to free and expansive media platforms and distribution channels has democratized influence and shifted the power of authority from those who previously controlled the media to those who disseminate it.
As 2009 draws to a close, with Twitter undoubtedly this year's media darling and Facebook continuing on its path to global domination, you may wonder which social-media service will become tech's poster boy in 2010. Among the Web's early adopter set, the answer is nearly unanimous: Foursquare. While the technology landscape is ever-changing, I'd argue that Foursquare already has aligned itself to become next year's mainstream hit.
I’ve been thinking of how to measure engagement in the digital space for a while now, so I wanted to aggregate my thoughts and put them in one place. This post is intended to be provocative and get people thinking about how the current thinking of measurement of social media should change. It isn’t meant to be a one-size-fits-all solution – more an articulation of things that people should consider more and more when they embark on work in the online social space.
Get ready for Starbucks Holiday 2.0. The brand is going big in social media this year, having learned that its consumers want to participate in a variety of ways. So Starbucks is pulling back from its Thanksgiving TV buys of the past two years to focus on where its customers already spend time online and drive them into stores.
Design thinking translates rigorous trend research into meaningful experiences that lead markets and foster brand loyalty instead of merely following the cult of now. Blue may be the new green, but how is that relevant to an industry, a brand and the evolving desires of its customers? Times and trends can change so quickly that a campaign, product or service can be rendered irrelevant by the time it gets to market.
There aren’t enough hours in the day for all the chores that social media puts in front of us. The best writing I’ve found on how to manage your time in social media is via Amber Naslund’s social media time management series. Her efforts in crafting this should become a little ebook that you hand around to everyone. If you skipped over that link, go back, click it to open a new tab/window, and then read it when you’re done with this (or skip mine and read Amber’s- it’s that good). If you’re still with me, here’s what I want to say on the matter.
In the last couple of weeks, we've been talking about leveraging content to start or continue a conversation with your customers or prospects. Offering something of value in exchange for attention towards a mutually accepted goal or direction goes to the heart of communications. There is still plenty of unrealized opportunity for B2B companies to unlock this value through social media. That's because the greatest value to the organization that gets involved in social media is not the cool promotional glitz. We talk about customer support regularly. What about customer acquisition and real time retention? We kind of know about new product ideas. What about strategic business intelligence? These more operational business ideas go along with humanizing the organization, establishing yourself as a thought leader, and tracking marketing effectiveness.
Social media has appeared because the web is here and people are talking to one another online, consumers create content without needing media intermediaries and as a result are free to talk about products, brands, ideas and society. Consumers now expect companies will conduct a dialogue with them online. Companies like Dell, Comcast and Zappos have changed customer expectations about what it means to reach out to a company for the simplest of requests or the most complex of complaints. Instead of calling a call center on their time, the consumer simply writes a blog post, Facebook update, or tweet anticipating a company will respond. To write well in social media is not about being the most polished writer, or a creative copywriter, rather the skills that are needed to succeed are an ability to listen, be empathic, admit mistakes where necessary, and take a stand knowing the customer is not always right. Online, the good writer is outpaced by the good conversationalist.
Just about every week I see an article or have a conversation with a client about the potential risks of social media and how to manage them. Quite frankly, there are many ways that social media can go wrong and cause problems for a brand, and as someone who shares advice on using social media for marketing - I can readily admit that. What I haven't seen as much discussion about is how social media could be used to protect your brand. Not fighting back after a crisis happens, but proactively as a tool to prevent people from hijacking, corrupting or negatively impacting your brand. What if you were to see social media as a way to prevent these effects instead of a potential conduit to increase them? Here are a few ideas for how you might use social media to protect your brand.
The social-media revolution is seeping into the workplace, and employers are nervous. According to social-web blogger David Armano, approximately 70% of organizations ban social networks. USA Today reports a lower amount, but still: An Oct. 22 survey shows 54% of businesses are banning social media from the workplace. Fears about decreased productivity and/or risk exposure seem to be resulting in censorship within workplaces. Of course, banning social media is simply a bad idea. Many agencies report partnering with marketing clients to develop social-media strategies only to discover that clients themselves are unable to access key sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, from their work computers. Marketers are at a clear disadvantage when they don't have first-hand usage, insight and experience with social-media channels. Allowing employees to access social media could actually result in many other benefits for the employer:
Twitter may be booming, Facebook stratospheric, but leading chief marketing officers are apparently yet to send the dollars wildly chasing the traffic. A new study shows nearly 85% of CMOs spend less than 10% of their budgets on social media, and what's described as "non-traditional communications channels." The research from Hill & Knowlton and peer networking group, the CMO Club, further found that 55% spend 5% or less in the emerging arenas. The figures come in light of Pew & American Life Internet Project research showing that in 2008, 35% of adult Internet users had profiles on social networks -- up from 8% in 2005.
Social media is a humbling topic, one that I do not approach without deep study and reﬂection. On the surface, social media has democratized content, placing the power of publishing in the hands of every day people. Peeling back the collective layers, we realize something more profound however; social media has democratized and equalized inﬂuence and the ability to inspire action and establish vibrant and dedicated communities around a sense of purpose and belonging. Whether we’re consumers or brand advocates or both, we have been given a powerful gift in the form of real-time, uninhibited access to information and intelligence and the people who share their insights—the new inﬂuencers. It is how we choose to embrace this gift and as such employ it and also interact with new inﬂuencers that deﬁnes our presence and stature within the social landscape and in turn, the real world. Indeed social media is a privilege and with it comes great responsibility (and accountability).
‘Tis the season for social media. Seventeen percent of U.S. consumers plan to leverage social media sites to assist in their holiday shopping this year. The majority (60 percent) will do so to seek discounts and sales, according to Deloitte’s 24th annual Holiday Survey. More than half of social media users reported that they will also use these sites to research potential gift ideas (53 percent) and view their friends and family members’ wish lists (52 percent). Forty-six percent will research product reviews and 30 percent plan to share their own wish list. The study, which was conducted online by an independent research company, surveyed more than 10,000 individuals.
Consumer spending may have gone cold in 2009, but that didn't stop these marketers from turning up the temperature. Here Ad Age chooses the upstarts and established brands that are setting the pace for innovation -- and getting results -- right now.
Web 2.0 has changed the way companies look at their brand – ceding more and more responsibility to their brand communities - the people who surround the brand. The ubiquity of social media has created awareness of the role customers play in building (or destroying) brands. That awareness of the human impact on branding has rubbed off on the people who build the brand from the inside out.
All the incessant chanting of new media's Greek chorus notwithstanding, 2009 revealed two emergent facts about the promise of social media: first, it's not really "social," and second, "media" is its least important quality. Instead, the opportunities it presents arise from what goes into it, and what comes out of it. Ignoring these inputs and outputs are its downside, too.
From a holistic perspective, we talk about the need for organizations to become more socially calibrated—able to adapt and respond to changes both externally and internally. The three areas where emergent outcomes can manifest are, participation with your customers, collaboration between your employees and optimization in the interactions/transactions between your business and its partners. Digging into customer participation, it’s clear that in a networked economy customers demand engagement, information, support and ultimately, value and ecosystems such as Twitter are beginning to deliver here.
You've probably heard by now that "your brand is no longer yours." The assertion's based on simple math. In the era of blogs, discussion boards, Facebook, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 tools, virtually everyone can get online and talk about your company and its offerings. As a result, the amount of information your marketing and PR departments can generate is only a small percentage of the total volume of content on the Internet about your firm. What's more, if some of the external voices become as popular, or perish the thought, more popular than your official voice, then they're going to show up high in organic (as opposed to paid) search results.
Online content can be "much better" -- and its improvement will be the focus of the next development stage of the Internet, AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said Friday. "That's why we are making such a big bet there," he said during a keynote appearance at the annual Media and Money Conference in New York. Adweek parent the Nielsen Co. and Dow Jones co-hosted the event. He argued that the first wave of Internet development focused on access; then platforms -- from Facebook to iTunes -- were in focus. But the next step will be content, which hasn't seen as much innovation, he said.
The tools we use for social media have empowered us to be steady-flow commentators. Watch Twitter or Facebook during any event, and you’ll see our added commentary rolling along in time with the experience. At times, such as the US Presidential election, it was exciting to feel that experience, of everyone participating all across the world in an event. There are many more times where it feels like that. In blog comments, on Twitter, all over Facebook, Yelp, YouTube, and several other sites, we’ve been groomed to give our opinion. We spit it out everywhere. We share, rate, criticize, deride, praise, and everything in between. Forrester’s Ladder graphic suggests that critics are second on the content ladder, just below creators.
Think about your organization and ask yourself these two questions: Are external social media sites restricted or blocked while at work? Is the use of social media in the workplace inhibited or frowned upon? If you answered yes, then your organization is one of the majority of firms with over 100 employees that have yet to embrace the use of social media in the workplace for the average worker. In a study conducted by Robert Half Technology entitled "Whistle But Don't Tweet At Work," many organizations are struggling with how to integrate social media into the workplace.
The role of influence is changing and diversifying and with it, the rules and responsibilities of engagement are also reshaping. While PR, analyst, and investor relations were clear yesterday, the rise of new influencers, tastemakers and authoritative users and customers becomes both pervasive and uncertain. As such, new opportunities for engagement emerge; creating new opportunities for cultivating distributed relationships. However, each new connection requires management, a support infrastructure, including a dedicated host.
Websites are social creatures. Or rather, their users are. In turn, the websites you visit are tempered by the users that interact with them. Your experience with a website, say facebook.com, is directly linked to the people with which you interact on that website. But this introduces an interesting challenge for a user experience designer: do you design for the intial experience or the resulting experience?
Bing and Google recently announced partnerships with Twitter and Facebook to provide elements of real-time and social search to their respective search engine results. On the surface, this probably blew past most business owners and marketers as not much in the way of being important. If the information is online, aren’t Bing and Google supposed to find it? And, frankly, the partnership has some interesting implications, but isn’t phenomenally noteworthy … yet.
Looking ahead to 2010, marketers will be facing Olympic hurdles that will require steadfast agility just to stay in the game, much less to hit the finish line ahead of the competition. Here are 10 ideas, wrapped in Olympic glory that should deliver the gold.
Any news organization’s web site can get a story picked up by popular sites such as Drudge Report, Huffington Post, Digg, or even Fark, resulting in a bump in page views. But that’s a traffic anomaly. A key metric media companies want to grow is their local audience, because local traffic is where the money is. “Local advertising pays the bills in most cases and local advertisers want to reach people who can actually come to their stores,” said Serra Media CEO Mark Briggs, author of “Journalism 2.0,” and the upcoming book “Journalism Next,” in an e-mail interview. “And, as national news has become a commodity, local news is the differentiating factor most local news operations are emphasizing these days. Or, at least they should be.”
Today our social rules seem to have been overloaded by our always on, always connected culture. Behaviours developed for the industrial age simply cannot cope with the new possibilities for information sharing.
Businesses are made of people, many of them in the middle. While everyone loves to talk to the C-level, the shift in the way people at all levels work, select and recommend service providers, and get things done is more notable in the thick of things, so to speak. Technology has made it even easier for people to connect with peers, collaborate, and get and give direct and indirect (through search) feedback. There's a reason why social media has put a spotlight on being human - brands forgot how to tell stories. Along with a "me, too" characteristic of many B2Bs always in search of benchmarking and way to validate their value props, companies forgot (more likely stopped funding) media integration. This first set of considerations presents some difficulties in the connected world we live in.
You know social media is a powerful tool for business when a grocery store attracts more Twitter followers than pop star Lady Gaga and almost as many as Miley Cyrus, whose departure drove her 2 million fans to make #MileyComeBack a trending topic for more than a day. If Whole Foods Market ever followed suit, its 1.5 million registered fans would surely start a virtual food fight.
Sometimes, we overcomplicate things by being worried about the technology part of it. Twitter and Facebook and blogs and mobile apps aren’t all that fancy. They’re just an unknown, and so people are worrying how they’ll do what they know how to do by other means with these new tools. Yes, it takes some new understanding, but at the end of the day, marketing hasn’t changed a lot. Think about the Four P’s of Marketing:
On Monday, Burberry introduced a social networking site, artofthetrench.com, to encourage people to share their own trench coat stories. It is the latest step by Ms. Ahrendts and her creative director, Christopher Bailey, to build on the brand’s British heritage and trademark plaid with a more modern twist. “It’s our differentiator,” Ms. Ahrendts said. “It’s not so different from what competitors do. Maybe one was born from shoes and another from luggage; we come from a coat. It’s our job to keep that category hot and cool and relevant for all ages.” The step reflects a broader move by luxury goods companies, which have generally failed to figure out how to sell their wares online. Indeed, many have shunned the Web, seeing it as mostly a place for bargain hunters to search for knock-offs or counterfeits.
Narratives are a staple of every culture the world over. They are disappearing in an online blizzard of tiny bytes of information.
While social media often commands favorable media attention, the less often told story is that successful initiatives are rare to come by and that there still a number of organizational roadblocks that managers need to overcome in order to make progress. Still, we are seeing signs of progress in the form of new efficiencies, more direct ways to connect with customers, and ways to make products and services better. From my experience working and talking with people in large, complex organizations, here are a small sample of obstacles to look for with suggestions on how you might overcome them:
As we look ahead to 2010 in the world of social media, we should first stop to appreciate how far we’ve come in this journey to new found relevance and presence. Social media served as a great equalizer. The technology and the corresponding networks that freely connected us, democratized the ability to publish and share content, weave more meaningful relationships, as well reset the ecosystem for establishing and wielding influence. Perhaps most notably, Social networks made the world a much smaller place. As such, it also set the stage for the emergence of a new caliber and genre of influencers and communities that support their mission and purpose. On any given subject, these authoritative networks can incite change and galvanize action to govern, change, and direct market behavior.
Does Twitter have a T.M.I. problem? And, no, I don’t just mean the Twitter users who share too much information about their lives, social, medical or otherwise. Simply put, there is way too much information on Twitter — lately, it defies navigation. In January, there were 2.4 million tweets a day, according to Alessio Signorini, a researcher at the University of Iowa. By October, he reports, there were 26 million tweets a day. Why should we care about information overload at Twitter? Isn’t Twitter about the individual experiences — a Tweeter and her followers — not the totality of millions of Tweeters around the world?
Brands are busily trying to figure out how to build their followings on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The secret to success may lie in the most old school of marketing techniques: give people a deal. A new consumer study of "digitally connected" consumers commissioned by Razorfish found that 43 percent of those following brands on Twitter do so because of exclusive deals or offers. That tops interesting content (23 percent), current customers (24 percent) and service support (4 percent). Overall, more than 25 percent said they followed a brand on Twitter
Have you seen anything lately that you thought was a creative approach to a consumer business? I'm talking about something that isn't a social networking or mobile business, but instead is an established product or service that is extending its brand in a way that puts competitors on the defensive. While speaking at a recent event, the moderator asked my co-panelists and me if the pendulum had swung too far toward short-term returns rather than long-term marketing and new product development. We collectively agreed that while improving analytics and financial discipline is a good development, marketers are currently shortchanging the creative side of the equation.
Question: Google has it, Hoover has it (in the UK anyway), TiVo had it, lost it and has somewhat got it back. Xerox had it, but nobody really cares anymore. So what is it? It's when a brand name becomes the verb associated with its use. So rather than searching, you Google, or TiVo when digital recording a television show. Arguably an even more powerful synonym is when a brand becomes a noun, such as Polaroid, for instant developed photographs, although that didn't end so well. The newest one would seem to Facebook, although it has two meanings.
For years, the premise has been widely accepted as some great truth handed down from the mountain of academia, etched on a silicon tablet: Our modern tools of technology are isolating us from one another. Think: the guy in his basement in boxer shorts hanging out online with other strangers passing in the cybernight. Now, a new study released Wednesday suggests that rather than push us apart, these tech tools may actually help pull us together. The millions of Americans who have embraced social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter might not be surprised by the new findings from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, showing that Web and cell-phone users tend to have larger and more diverse networks of close confidantes than those who do not use the Web or cell phones.
Facebook is getting old. No, people aren't getting tired of it, it's actually getting old, as in its population is aging. In May of 2008, the median age for Facebook was 26. Today, it's 33, a good seven years older. That's an interesting turn of events for a site once built for the exclusive use of college students. So where are today's college students hanging out now? Well, to some extent, they're still on Facebook, despite having to share the space with moms, dads, grandparents, and bosses. Surprisingly though, they're also headed to another network you may have heard of: Twitter.
As more and more brands are moving all of their ad spend online, defining how influence affects their return on investment is necessary and must be done as soon as possible. While some are making inroads to define these calculations many are overlooking the fact that influence affects everything. Without factoring in the real issue of different types of influence you run into a number of problems, for instance focusing on one group of influencers over another or getting broad sweeping numbers instead of knowing exactly how effective your time and money has been spent on the proper target. One thing that usually doesn’t sync up here is that these online influencers with large followings are not the offline influencers.
We live in the most hyper-connected time in the country's history; and yet we exist in a constant state of disconnection. While Apple, BlackBerry, Twitter, Facebook, LimeWire, Match.com, Fresh Direct, and Amazon are well-designed, convenient, and address specific needs -- and for the most part work well -- they are also responsible for the undeniable erosion in the kind of personal interactions we used to take for granted during the course of a regular day.
When it comes to deep smarts, curiosity, with practical advice and sprinkled with a healthy dose of good humor, I cannot think of anyone more qualified than Avinash Kaushik. He's not only a real dynamo in all matters analytics, he's also a genuinely passionate, interesting, and kind person. Think that he wrote the answers to our conversation while his hand was healing from an injury because he had made a promise. Every single one of his posts - and now I can say the same for the books - is packed with step by step actionable insights that will make you think about online accountability as an art. I don't know about you, but he's changed the game of analytics for me - I now have a totally fresh appreciation for what you can do with data.
Many consumers may still think of Kodak as mainly an enabler of still images. But the company is becoming deeply involved in the Web's most popular site for moving pictures: YouTube. Kodak has launched a branded YouTube channel, ForMom, featuring user-generated testimonials from real moms on topics ranging from parenting and cooking to health, beauty and exercise. "It's a Web site that has a lot of different content for mothers," says Mike Mayfield, Kodak's marketing manager for branding and content. "We've created some videos for that Web site, sort of like mommy how-to videos. This is just another way we're reaching deep into YouTube to explore different parts of the brand."
The recession has battered some of the nation's biggest companies. Even so, top marketing executives believe social media and behavioral targeting technologies will help them boost business as the economy stabilizes and consumer sentiment improves. A cautiously optimistic group of marketing executives from big companies, including Bank of America, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Mercedes-Benz USA and Xerox, gathered in Palm Beach, Fla., at the Fifth annual Forbes CMO Summit late last week. There they discussed ways they can rebuild trust and boost sales at their companies as the economy stabilizes.
Depending on how you see it, social software is either all the rage or so 2008. You know the stuff: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare.... There's no talking about the web these days without it—that's for sure—but social software tools are quickly becoming an integral part of the way we run our day-to-day lives. It's not just in the consumer space, either. Companies and large organizations are catching on to the benefits of social networking and improved collaboration tools. They want their intranets to be more like Facebook. They want to use crowdsourcing to leverage employee perspectives and wikis to help people help themselves. They want Twitter for the organization, (or at least they think they do).
Businesses that want to create long-term sustainable growth will be increasingly moving towards connected company status. That is the place where being social benefits the business by providing insights, strengthening relationships with partners and customers, and building and connecting a community with common grounds and needs. In many organizations, the listening post resides within the marketing group. As we discussed yesterday here and on Twitter, customer service should co-own the space and collaborate to develop big ears during customer conversations and interactions. In many B2B organizations, the customer support role is much expanded and works hand in hand with operations.
We attended the Forbes CMO Summit in sunny Palm Beach last week to learn what's on the minds of executive marketing leaders. The conversation from this group regarding social was more sophisticated, which my colleague Charlene Li and I don't think is reflective of most chief marketing groups. What's unique about these Forbes CMOs? Perhaps they are more progressive, well read and tuned into the rapid changes coming. In consideration to attendees of this event, I won't be giving any specific individual quotes, (this wasn't a media event) but instead, I'll focus on the insights related to emerging technologies, overall budgets and market economics.
We worry that IM, texting, Facebook are spoiling human intimacy, but Stefana Broadbent's research shows how communication tech is capable of cultivating deeper relationships, bringing love across barriers like distance and workplace rules.
In 2009 we saw exponential growth of social media. According to Nielson Online, Twitter alone grew 1,382% year-over-year in February, registering a total of just more than 7 million unique visitors in the US for the month. Meanwhile, Facebook continued to outpace MySpace. So what could social media look like in 2010? In 2010, social media will get even more popular, more mobile, and more exclusive — at least, that's my guess. What are the near-term trends we could see as soon as next year?
The just-launched Twitter Lists feature is a new way to organize the people you’re following on Twitter, or find new people. In actuality, though, Twitter Lists are Twitter’s long awaited “groups” feature. They offer a way for you to bunch together other users on Twitter into groups so that you can get an overview of what they’re up to. That’s because Lists aren’t just static listings of users, but rather curated Twitter streams of the latest tweets from a specified set of users. In other words, you can create a list that groups together people for whatever reason (the members of your family, for example), and then you can get a snapshot of the things those users are saying by viewing that list’s page, which includes a complete tweet stream for everyone on the list. Lists allow you to organize the people you’re following into groups, and they even allow you to include people you’re not following.
I was lucky enough to have been invited to Jeff Pulver's 140 Conference at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles earlier this week. It was quite "the conference" and a manifestation of just how important Twitter has become across a wide range of industries and arenas. The organizers did an incredible job of bring 140 speakers to LA who represented the broad ecosystem of Twitter's world-those present included; Hollywood social media managers, CMOs, poker players, sportswriters, small business owners, VCs, authors, publishers, musicians, educators, politicians and more. Here are 10 learnings that I took away from the experience.
Dear Google, Eric Schmidt recently said, "CIOs are trapped in a 1980's architecture." Actually, the world is trapped in a 1970's architecture: a financial architecture that was designed for a bygone era, without the prosperity of future generations and the natural world in mind. So here's my challenge to you. The global IT market is worth a few hundred billion bucks. But you're (still) the most innovative company in the world — and there are bigger fisheries to rescue. A better global financial architecture is worth 10x more: at least $12 trillion, if the amount spent on the bailout is any indication. Can you build one?
Prior to leaving Forrester to join Altimeter Group, Jeremiah Owyang, along with Josh Bernoff, Cynthia N. Pflaum, and Emily Bowen, published a report that attempted to bring the future of the Social Web into focus. If we viewed the content of his research as a social object, the conversations that would transpire could in fact expedite the development and implementation of the most valuable predictions and observations contained within.
The Internet has changed the scale at which we can observe and participate in activities that express or pay off our own human nature - that of being social. As technologies get cheaper and more ubiquitous, more people can join in, independently of social status, geography, age, etc. Before the Internet, businesses were the center of our active social lives - especially in the last ten years, and for most, not all, of us.
Viral marketing — the technique of wrangling word-of-mouth to create a buzz around your product or idea — has been a powerful tool since the first caveman started the first rumor. Spreading the word person to person is the stuff of Avon dreams — and Bernie Madoff nightmares. And it requires the confidence to lose control of the message by setting it adrift. The modern age of viral marketing began in the mid 1990s with (of all things) a cultish, childish cable TV show that defined “guilty pleasure” way before Beavis and Butthead. The producers of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (the premise of MST3K is almost too ridiculous to articulate) knew immediately they had something viable, new and remarkable, and that their best marketers were the show’s smallish but loyal audience. In those dark days before streaming media, they encouraged the show’s viewers to videotape their copyrighted shows, and pass them along to friends — creating that sought after word-of-mouth buzz.
Unilever is turning on the cyber charm in Asia with a burst of social-media activities for brands like Pond's, Lux and Comfort. One effort in China, an experiment to use bloggers in a blind test of Pond's Age Miracle moisturizer, will become a regional marketing strategy for the skin-care brand.
A U.K. firm is set to launch a camera to capture every moment of a person's life. While you may reel at the privacy implications, I'd wager that the high price of not capturing and sharing every moment of our lives will soon dwarf the cost to our privacy.
As consumers, I think you’ll agree, prior to making any decision purchase, most of the time, our journey begins with a combination of online search and real world conversations with friends, family and peers. As the Web matures, a greater volume of our attention and focus continues to shift from other mediums to the Web for not only purchase considerations but also for content discovery. It’s how we learn. It’s how we stay connected.
Few things have changed faster than the way we communicate. Coupled with the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or green movement, there has been an explosion of information available about how and what companies and organizations are doing to improve society and the environment. During the past year, at least three major events have influenced how communications relate to CSR.
Last month, we reported on a survey that found that 84% of social media programs don’t measure return on investment (ROI). The comments in that post indicated that a lot of individuals and businesses want to be able to measure the ROI of their social media strategies and campaigns, but they don’t know where to start. Companies and executives are finally beginning to really jump on the social media bandwagon, and that’s fantastic. However, for social media to fully work (for everyone), businesses and brands need to be able to evaluate the impact their social media use is having, both positive and negative. Measuring social media ROI isn’t impossible, but it can be difficult because many of the pieces that need to be evaluated are difficult to track. This guide is designed to help you track down those pieces and determine the ROI you’re getting on social media.
Since its invention towards the end of the 20th century, the Internet has changed a great many things. And one of the things that is has done time after time is dismantle business models that had seemed, until its arrival, absolutely rock solid. From music to publishing to TV, the Internet has swept away seeming certainties and replaced them with doubt and uncertainty. Whilst this fact can not be argued with, the common perception that the reason these media models have been so badly damaged is due to the rise of UGC is, like so many ‘commonly held facts’, actually untrue.
While the year 2009 was marked as the 'great recession', we won't feel its full effects until 2010. Both marketers and their marketing services agency partners are dealing with reduced resources in terms of head-count and budgets. We won't likely see enough breakthroughs in the marketplace, simply because marketers and agencies alike have to remain focused on 'getting the work out the door'. The only way to 'do more with less' is to align resources toward a single and powerful integrated marketing solution. Individual marketing tactics will simply become marginalized and highly tactical with 'less'.
During General Motors' financial meltdown this year, politicians, corporate executives and journalists piled on to gripe about the auto-maker's business. Most of the chatter was expected, admits Christopher Preuss, GM's vice president of communications. What surprised company execs was the number of bloggers and social media hounds who chimed in to grouse about the car-maker and its vehicles.
Moms and college students have long been critical targets for brands -- moms for their hefty control of household spending and college students for the important transitional life stage they are in, which shapes their brand preferences for years to come. Most Millennials, born between 1977 and 1996, are well within their baby-rearing years. These new parents have been raised on the Internet, email, SMS and IM and quickly adopted social networking in their teens or early 20s. What may have seemed like two polar opposites a decade ago now bear considerable resemblance as a result of changes in communications spawned by technology.
In August, Honda quietly launched an official Facebook page, themed "Everybody Knows Somebody Who Loves a Honda," to recruit fans of the brand. Owners are encouraged to join as overall Honda fans as well as fans of a specific model, and to learn how they are connected to friends, family members and other owners around the world. Visitors can upload photos of their cars or link up to owners of their favorite old Honda.
Coca-Cola is no longer content to merely teach the world to sing in perfect harmony - it now wants to teach the world how to be happy, appointing a team of Happiness Ambassadors to show us the way. A team of three young people are to attempt to visit the 206 countries where Coca-Cola is sold in 365 days, finding out what makes people happy and sharing this with the world through social networking sites.
Back-to-back deals on Wednesday to make the company’s steady stream of posts available to Microsoft and Google’s search engines may point to a potential new source of cash. How large, however, is not known. The terms of the deals were not disclosed and Evan Williams, Twitter’s chief executive, said in an interview that revenue was “not the focus of the deals.” Microsoft said it did not plan to put ads on its Twitter search service for now, and Google said ads might appear at a later date. The deals represent the latest evidence of the intense interest in what is known as the real-time Web — the constant stream of posts and updates on Twitter, Facebook and similar services. Unlike traditional Web pages and blogs, that real-time information has not been easily integrated by search engines.
Can social media sell cars? Ford Motors seems to think so. Fresh off the Ford Fiesta Movement, the American car maker is announcing another social media initiative designed to once again combine the passionate voices of happy Ford owners with the distribution opportunities made available through social media channels. Fusion 41, part of the Ford Drive One campaign, is a brand new challenge and campaign seeking 8 passionate 2010 Ford Fusion or Fusion Hybrid owners with an active social media presence.
For years in the automotive industry, marketers have known that getting someone to actually purchase a car depends on much more than the features and latest gadgetry. No one buys a car solely for the face detection alert software - though certainly something like that can influence the decision. What really sells those cars, though, is a person's prior experience with a brand and the opinion of others that they trust when it comes to experiences with the car or brand. Word of mouth and prior experience, those are at the top of the list.
And actually get to the heart of things. The touch of a human hand is always welcome. Yet it is what scares people the most. All kinds of push back and walls have been built to rationalize, compartmentalize and control the most basic of needs - that to connect with another human being. Yes, I'm also taking about social media environments. It's time to start mingling with the rest of the world - and do/create something. Doing business is a way of connecting, that of the current economic model and context. While it would be nice to think about intrinsic value, we use money to buy groceries and pay rent - business today equals earning money.
Social media advertising has stumbled in its current form, and needs new choreography. That’s the blunt message that media consultancy Media Link has for MySpace. Media Link has been advising MySpace since August, following a major executive shakeup at the troubled News Corp. unit. That message might as well be aimed at the entire social media landscape, which generates a disproportionate amount of ad impressions but commands such low prices that some in the industry even speculate it could hinder an expected online advertising recovery.
If marketing is about conversation, then the least conversational move is taking legal action to protect your brands. In a world of constant chatter, lawsuits can actually serve to cause the damage that the legal action was meant to prevent. In recent weeks, two German companies discovered this. Neither are megabrands, but both are quite successful and have a devoted customer base that spreads that acts as advocates.
Consumers use the social web to talk about everything including products. Sometimes they are praiseworthy, sometimes not. There are no strategic meetings or secret gatherings where consumers discuss which products to talk about and when. They just happen, and happen organically. And at times – at the demise of some brands — these conversations can reach the mainstream media as it did with Motrin.
Balloon Boy, Kanye West and Lady Gaga Walk into a bar. Bartender says, "Hey, wait a second -- how old is that kid? You can't bring a kid in here!" Lady Gaga says nothing and just tries to keep a poker face, but you can tell she's pissed that the kid is getting all the attention. Kanye West says, "Yo Bartender, Imma let you finish, but ..." -- but then the bartender, fumbling with his cellphone, says, "Actually, hold that thought, I've gotta get a TwitPic of this!" First, though, he starts to tweet "Balloon Boy, Kanye West and La" -- but before he can finish, I grab the phone out of his hands and smash it to the ground while screaming, "Stop it!! For the love of God, just STOP IT!!" On Monday, I published a column about how the rapid dissemination of misinformation through Twitter and other real-time social media is increasingly causing a "general derangement of reality" that's "becoming more and more endemic to the way we consume information and communicate -- and think -- now." And that that social-media-enabled nonsense filtered back "through the prism of the worst of the old media -- particularly cable news channels and talk radio" -- is making us all a little bit nuts.
Detroit's year of bad news just got worse: the car industry isn't only losing sales from current buyers depressed by the economy -- it's losing the future. A new J.D. Power report says teens and twenty-somethings lack what was once thought to be the genetic desire to own a car. The study, which analyzed hundreds of thousands of conversations on blogs and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, showed young people have a poor image of the auto industry. The bad economy and high gas prices could be to blame. But J.D. Power blames social media itself: "with the advent of social media and other forms of electronic communities, teens perceive less of a need to physically congregate, and less of a need for a mode of transportation.”
The attention dashboard is rapidly emerging as the online hub for sharing and discovering information, connecting us to people, content, and events in real-time. According to research, we’re already spending more time in social networks than we are in email. New studies are only fortifying these findings, documenting an increase time spent specifically in Social Media and blogs. In fact, the Nielsen Company reports reports that time spent on social networks and blogs accounted for 17 percent of total time spent on the Internet in August 2009. Most notably, but not surprising, however, is that this discovery represents nearly triple the percentage of time spent using Social Media just one year ago.
Interbrand recently released its 2009 list of the best 100 global brands. Social media monitoring and analytics firm Sysomos took a closer look at this data today. While Interbrand bases its list on criteria such as financial data, international scope and economic value added, Sysomos decided to re-evaluate the top 20 brands by their social media presence on blogs, forums and news sites. Sysomos did not include mentions on Twitter in this study. This obviously led to major changes to Interbrand's list. Google, which placed only 7th on the Top 100 Brands list, ranks 1st when it comes to social media mentions in 2009, while Coca-Cola, the #1 brand on the Interbrand list, ranks only 11th on Sysomos' list. Interbrand's ranking puts Coca Cola, IBM and Microsoft in the top 3, while the top 3 brands with the most social media mentions according to Sysomos are Google, Apple and Microsoft.
Image is everything to luxury fashion companies. Preserving prestige is what sets brands such as Gucci and Hermes apart from Gap and H&M. But that same elitism is keeping certain luxury brands from engaging in social media, one of the most powerful forms of marketing at the moment. Luxury fashion companies are known for setting trends when it comes to their products, but their media preferences are surprisingly dated. Most prefer to simply buy ad space in publications where they can present--and control--their image in glossy two-page spreads. While traditional media will remain an important advertising vehicle for high-end fashion companies, social media needs to be part of the marketing mix too.
PepsiCo has inserted itself and several of its brands into a heated debate surrounding an iPhone app launched by its Amp Energy brand. By introducing a Twitter tag #pepsifail, the company has spread the news further and associated its flagship brand with the sexist app. So is it a savvy, transparent social-media move or is it simply exacerbating the damage already done?
By now, most consumer marketers know they could be using Facebook (Facebook), Twitter (Twitter), blogs, and other social media platforms to boost brand recognition, engage customers, and drive sales. But getting a social media marketing program started – and keeping up with the rapid pace of change in the industry – can be daunting. The good news is that with the right technology tools, social media marketing programs can be managed at scale and can help the entire organization (not just the marketers!) find out what customers are saying, sharing, even feeling about your brand or business. When thinking about the technology tools you need to launch, measure, and optimize your social media marketing and online customer engagement programs, it helps to organize your efforts into categories: listening and monitoring tools; editorial, publishing, and content syndication tools; and conversation measurement tools. There are hundreds of tools out there, but here are some of the more popular and effective ones that can be put to work for you.
A new survey conducted by Citibank shares some disheartening news: "Few U.S. small businesses have adopted social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter for business uses." The survey states that "three-quarters of small businesses say they have not found sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn helpful for generating business leads or expanding business." (The survey was done with 500 U. S. businesses with under 100 employees each.) I admit to being dismayed by the small number, but not necessarily surprised.
It’s clear that the public relations landscape is changing. No longer does emailing a journalist a press release always result in coverage on major news channels (there are exceptions, naturally, but the average business doesn’t get on Oprah). These days, journalists (and yes, bloggers too) are inundated with press releases. It’s easy to hit delete and move on. How do you get your pitch heard above the din? Conversation. Engagement. Interaction.
With Halloween upon us, I thought I would partake in the festivities by channeling Washington Irving. This is a scary, yet realistic, story called "The Tale of the Headless Media Company." Once upon a time, we would browse from site to site, visiting each online media palace one at a time. But suddenly, the supply of information outstripped demand. The "destination web" died, and in ushered an age of "media brand agnosticism." No longer could media brands hope that if they build it, we will come. The next great media company will need to be all spokes and no hub. Yes, I am saying that media companies can exist without having their own website, or head.
One of the wisest bits of advice I've gotten in my advertising career came from an old creative director who once noted that "there's a reason 'America's Funniest Home Videos' is a top-10 show." His point, which predated You Tube's sneezing pandas and dancing babies by at least 10 years, was that the most popular entertainment is often the safest. Which doesn't make it bad or wrong or awful. It's just not cutting edge. It's something to keep in mind as we move deeper into a world of democratized content, one where consumers are their own editors and make the call as to what gets passed on.
Twitter is a phenomenon unto itself. Which is why, in the study of Social Media, Digital Anthropology and Sociology prevails. Technology indeed facilitates interaction while also introducing us to nuances that transcend the parameters governing natural conversations and asynchronous dialogue into new forms of conversational threads and networks. Twitter is among those networks actively studied by many (myself included) as it seemingly defies the laws of natural flow and engagement. The foundation that makes Twitter work is also the very essence that should prevent it from working at all. In Social Media, psychology and the study of the mind now also plays a role in understanding the context to those affecting and affected by online behavior.
Last month, Intuit, the personal finance software firm that owns Quicken, paid $170 million in cash for Mint.com, a two-year-old personal finance site with 1.6 million users. That corporate embrace comes after much frustration on Intuit’s part. At one point the company wrote Mint a letter demanding “substantiation and evidence” of the rival site’s rapid-fire growth. Compounding the vexation was the cost of acquisition for those consumers, whose numbers are currently growing by more than 130,000 each month: virtually nothing. Donna Wells, Mint’s CMO and a former exec at Intuit, is a veteran marketer used to the big media budgets she had in previous jobs at Charles Schwab and American Express. At Mint, however, she may well represent a new breed of CMO who is spending very little on brand building and bypassing advertising in the process. Thanks to new social media and communications technologies, partnered with adept PR strategies, Wells showed that building a so-called Web 2.5 brand doesn’t need to cost much these days—and the experience is liberating.
Sports fans love to talk about their teams, and more and more of that chatter is happening in social media. Naturally, the TV networks, purveyors of live events, are not about to be left out. ESPN today is launching Section 140, a service that will live on many of ESPN's platforms (mobile, PC, Gamecast) and let fans in different places join a central conversation about college football. President of Sales and Marketing Ed Erhardt calls the Windows Phone-sponsored initiative the company's "first real strong foray into virtual, social conversation around college football."
The Federal Trade Commission noticed a while back that marketers of brands, products and ideas have used new media in some incredibly dishonest ways. These include paying people or giving them freebies in return for positive mentions and not requiring (or even encouraging) them to disclose that they're being compensated. So with laudable goals, the commission -- an institution that plays a vital role in helping us have a free and honorable marketplace -- issued a document aimed at better disclosure, with penalties of up to $11,000 in fines for violations. Basically, the FTC is saying that if you have a "material connection" to a product or service you're praising, you are an endorser who must disclose that connection. Sounds good, doesn't it. But when you read the FTC's ruling, published this week, you get the sense of a government-gone-wild travesty. Why?
I know it's all PC and cool to say that numbers don't matter. Number of fans, followers, readers of your blog -- none of that matters. It's all about just writing and sharing great content because that is the core of social media. [dramatic pause while I hug myself] Personally, I disagree. I think it's easy to say numbers don't matter when you have 30,000 followers on Twitter and 10,000 fans on Facebook or an email list with over 100,000 readers. And it's easier to fall prey to that thinking and not challenge it, poke at it and see if well maybe... it's flawed somehow. I think numbers do matter for two reasons.
In the past, it was somewhat difficult to have true customer conversations. We were able to solicit customer feedback, but we weren’t always good at responding. The fact is, we didn’t have a good way to easily get back to customers with resolutions to problems or closure to suggestions. Customers would feel they were sending their comments and concerns into a “corporate black hole”, never to be seen or heard about again. Nowhere was this truer than with customer comments about areas for improvement or solutions to previously unknown problems. Fast forward to the present. Much is being said about the need for customer conversation. Books have been written about the importance of going beyond just listening to customer feedback and the need to move to a two-way interaction with customers. Conferences are being convened which promote the importance of talking with our customers to build awareness and advocacy. There is a lot of discussion about joining the conversation (which, as we all now realize, is happening with or without brand participation). Social media tools are now being used more and more frequently to “converse” with customers, thanking them for their Tweets about us and running quick contests to get more fans or followers.
A compass is a device for discovering orientation and serves as a true indicator of physical direction. Inspired by a moral compass, The Social Compass serves as our value system when defining our program activities. It points a brand in a physical and experiential direction to genuinely and effectively connect with customers, peers, and influencers, where they interact and seek guidance online.
Hilary McHone, 35, speaks directly into a camera as she lolls in bed, describing her day shooting an internal video for Ford. "What was neat was that I got to be ‘talent'," McHone says, using her fingers to put virtual parentheses around the word. The video is one of hundreds on a Ford site created to market its upcoming Fiesta subcompact. McHone is among of 100 "agents" that Ford has enlisted to drum up enthusiasm for the Ford Fiesta, which it's unveiling in the U.S. before it goes on sale in June. McHone's videos and others featured on the marketing site, fiestamovement.com, are supposed to help to generate early buzz for the brand, which will be aimed at 14- to 30-year-olds. Ford isn't paying the agents, but it did loan each of them a car for six months.
The venerable Estee Lauder cosmetics brand has found a seemingly natural way to connect with social media: offering free makeovers and photo shoots at its department-store cosmetics counters coast-to-coast to produce shots women can use for their online profiles. The promotion, which kicks off Oct. 16 at Bloomingdale's in New York and will extend initially to Macy's, Saks and other Bloomingdale's stores in Southern California, Miami and Chicago, also includes a giveaway of a 10-day supply of foundation.
Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the website as the dominant digital channel in the brand’s communication tool kit? This question has been the focus of much discussion recently as statistics over the last three years show a significant decline in unique users to the websites of prominent brands. And while the number of website visitors declines, the number of people visiting social media and networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter increases dramatically.
Google has quietly been launching a social network right under our own chins. No, it’s not about Google extending Orkut, a social networking platform they developed a few years ago, or growing Google groups, or even launching their own version of a twitter. Instead they’ve been releasing small bits of social networking features, little by little. Previously, we’ve made the case that email is already the largest social network, however Google’s plans go beyond Gmail. First, let’s define what to look for, in order to identify what Google is concocting.
For over 15 years I have been looking at the world of marketing, advertising and public relations and seeing things a bit differently. I was not alone. Countless others also saw the real need for systemic changes, or dare I say reform, across the board. The fundamental challenge became that the broad concept of “the market” was not fair nor efficient – the ones with the power (and money) won, and they often won at the expense of other’s loss.
Every few months it seems the digerati go on a hunt for the next "shiny object." We tire of what's in front of us. We are eager to explore the next big thing. Marketers, perhaps out of fear of being left behind, are often right in step when plunging into new technology. That latest object of our desire is Google Wave--a new, real-time platform that combines e-mail, instant messaging, document creation and collaboration. You can't spend any time on Twitter without geeks lusting after Google Wave invites, which are hard to come by because only 100,000 have them. The hype rivals the hoopla surrounding the iPhone before its launch.
Our Culture (high and popular) is usually created by people who are happy with the systems the world has given them. Magazine editors don't spend a lot of time wishing for better technology. Opera singers focus more on their singing than on microphone technologies. Novelists proudly use typewriters. Sure, there are exceptions like Les Paul (who developed the electric guitar) and Mitch Miller (who invented reverb) but these exceptions prove the rule: often, culture is invented by people who are too busy to seek out new technology.
In Social Media, we indeed cast digital shadows. We are what we tweet and in the era of equalized influence and democratized digital content distribution, our reputation does in fact precede us. The very tools we use to satisfy our quiet flirtations with vanity as we channel our inner micro celebrity are in actuality the same platforms that can also unravel the fabric of our stature. Why does Social Media seem to lower our guard? Why do we feel insulated in our very public activities as if we’re merely conversing in a trusted group forum? Yet we’re shocked and angered when the words we intentionally share are used against us. We are frustrated and disappointed when access to these systems that facilitate self-empowerment are regulated. Social Media is among the most pervasive and prominent technologies to enter the workplace from the outside-in, whereas innovation and modernization typically transpires from the top-down
When we think about media, we think about reach and volume - how many people will (potentially) see your message at any one time. The message could be relevant to them directly, and to their friends and neighbors indirectly. Unless they see it though, they won't be able to find it. Mainstream media still manages to capture the lion share of distribution and ubiquity. It was curious to see that the Wikipedia definition of mass media now includes the Internet - blogs, message boards, podcasts - because individuals have now the potential to a means to exposure that is comparable in scale to that previously restricted to a select group of mass media producers.
For AT&T, the small-business owner is so key a customer the company needed more than regular marketing tactics to reach it. Its solution? Original content. To create it, AT&T turned to an outside firm called Associated Content -- a startup with a network of 300,000 freelance content creators -- to produce over 100 how-to articles. Topics range from setting up a wireless network and building a marketing strategy to writing a business plan. The material will appears on the AT&T Small Business InSite destination. "The ability to distribute content offers us a credible way to connect with small business owners," said Chris Schembri, vp of media services for AT&T. "We're able to provide valuable information that comes from a third party that will be a little more believable" than brand-created content.
The Mac vs. PC war hasn't just played out on TV. It's also the biggest brand battle in social media. For the month ended Sept. 25, Apple and Microsoft finished in the top two spots of the Social Radar Sentiment Index, a social-media analysis of Advertising Age's 200 Megabrands by Infegy. The firm tracks more than 20 million web pages, including all the leading social-media sites, and bases its index on comment volume, percentage of positive mentions and percentage of overall brand mentions within social-media that showed signs of sentiment.
For decades, companies have defined the channels their customers must use to contact them. But phrases like, "We are available by phone weekdays from 9am until 4pm Eastern Standard Time,” and “We will attempt to answer the emails we receive within 48 hours, but times vary based on incoming volume” are quickly becoming a thing of the past. The long-held notion that companies control the conversation is being challenged by social media.
You can hardly have a conversation about social media today without discussing the concept of transparency. More and more, companies are incorporating transparency into their marketing efforts. Why? The reason, according to Debbie Weil, a corporate social media consultant and author of The Corporate Blogging Book, is because customers and stakeholders increasingly expect it. “It (transparency) is the new operating standard,” she said. Transparency is about being open, honest, and accountable. It’s about responsibility. People are listening to you and making evaluations and decisions based upon what you say, and as such, it’s important to take responsibility for the messaging you put out there. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh explains it best, “I think people worry too much about bringing their personal selves into business, when I think the way to succeed in today’s world is to make your business more personal.” For those looking to refine their social media messaging, here are five ways to become more transparent.
When marketers think about “going viral,” they think about creating infectious content and getting it in front of the right people. And while that’s a great place to start, contagious design can also go a long way to help. Here’s 7 things to think about when designing a blog or site for maximum viral effect.
Every hour thousands of new videos are uploaded online. Blog posts are written and published. Millions of tweets and other short messages are shared. To say there is a flood of content being created online now seems like a serious understatement. Until now, the interesting thing is that there are relatively few technologies or tools that have been adopted in a widespread way to manage this deluge. We pretty much just have algorithmic search, with Google (and other search engines) as the most obvious example. Social bookmarking and social news have been around for some time (ie - sites like Digg or delicious), and new models of aggregation like Alltop are springing up to help us navigate all this content as well. The real question is whether solutions like these will be enough. By some estimates in just a few years we will reach a point where all the information on the Internet will double every 72 hours. Double.
Congratulations, you have a million friends. But what's it getting you? Marketers have worked hard to make friends online, but the benefits have been elusive at best. The real juice is word-of-mouth referrals from trusted sources, but you can't tap into that with a sledgehammer. Red Robin, a casual-dining chain that focuses on premium burgers with outlandish toppings and sweet, frothy drinks, recently asked its customer-satisfaction vendor to help drive social-media buzz. Empathica, which handles surveys for Red Robin among other brands, had recently developed GoRecommend, an application that asks consumers if they'd like to post a recommendation on their Facebook page when they seem to have had a particularly pleasant experience. In short, it's addressing a challenge many brands are trying to tackle in social media: how to turn passive fans into real brand ambassadors.
If you're reading this post, then you probably know that I'm a big fan of Patagonia's The Cleanest Line, and often use it as an example of a great company blog in my social media posts and presentations. So when Kasey Kersnowski, Patagonia.com and The Cleanest Line's managing editor emailed me to thank me for covering his blog, I had to ask him for an interview (BTW notice Kasey was smart enough to be monitoring for brand mentions, and reached out to me because I was blogging about his company). Kasey graciously accepted, and here he gives us a 'behind the scenes' look at what goes into crafting one of the best company blogs on the internet.
When naming products, it’s always prudent to investigate potential online marketing challenges and pitfalls before launch. Failure to do so may preemptively damage your marketing team’s ability to cast an appropriate branding net. Traditionally due diligence surrounding the naming process involved trademark search, category and creative considerations. Now that’s no longer enough. Crucial naming decisions must also include rigorous SEO, social, reputation and paid search analysis. Here’s a checklist of factors to take into consideration to assure your product name is search-friendly from the outset.
With two-thirds of marketers using social media, and retailers shifting marketing dollars towards social initiatives, it comes as no surprise that new research from the e-tailing group and PowerReviews shows that brands are more hip to social media than ever before. What is quite remarkable, however, is the extent at which brands and retailers are adopting and implementing social media tools, and their preferred social home — Facebook. According to eMarketer, a combined 99% of surveyed online retailers currently employ (86%) or plan to employ (13%) Facebook Fan Pages.
If you’re reading this, then social media is a part of your life, just like the juice you steal through the wall socket at the local cafe. Your very lifestyle, and odds are your profession, depend on it. You might think you know how it works, because you work on it all the time. You test, tinker, and tweak it. You profess, pitch, and present it. Your social media is always on, and you’re always on it. But to really know what it means to you, you would have to turn it off. And I suspect it wouldn’t take long before you realized how deeply embedded it had become in even the most banal habits of your daily routine. Which is why, when it comes to social media, usability only scratches the surface. Sociability is where it’s really at. Sociability, in which the emphasis is on the social over use and utility, is equivalent of usability for the social web.
The rage Australians feel today has reached us here in Minneapolis and cannot be ignored. Seems that Kraft's iconic Vegemite brand name down under has been, er, upgraded into a new format of the product and named, wait for it, iSnack 2.0. This is not a joke. This is happening. There is really no American equivalent to Vegemite, a pre-war spread made from "yeast products" ...um... suffice to say that this is really an Australian thing. Nonetheless, it is an iconic brand name and this update, which is decades in the making, has prompted one blogger to dub it iSuck 2.0. In fact, it's such a silly name that some feel this must be a hoax designed to create instant buzz around a staid product.
I recently stumbled across the cluetrain manifesto again. It had a big impact on me when I first read it ten years ago. At the time, I was building web sites for big companies and it gave voice to a lot of the frustration I felt trying to get these companies to really embrace the potential of engaging with consumers directly. I worked with an airline that refused to handle any consumer inquiries generated by their web site. They actually had an in-house call center for reservations, but didn't even want their phone number listed on the site (let alone an email address). For them, the web site was a cheaper way to book reservations, and they were trying to lower transaction costs, not increase consumer loyalty. This was particularly odd because the airline prided itself on in-flight customer service.
As Web 2.0 and Social Media became globally pervasive, the landscape proved expansive, overwhelming, and bewildering. It required a social cartographer in order to visualize its grandeur. Thus, in August 2008, the original Conversation Prism was born with the help of Jesse Thomas of JESS3. The Conversation Prism continues to rapidly evolve as social networks emerge, merge, and vanish. One thing that we cannot overlook is that the true language of engagement is indeed international. Communities around the world have rallied to adapt the Conversation Prism to the reflect the social networks that thrive within each country. So far, those countries include France, Japan, and China.
With the consumption of traditional media in decline, the entire marketing industry is focused on social media. Whether you work in PR, advertising, consulting, digital, customer service or promotions, you are trying to figure out how to have a presence in social media. We’d like to offer another opinion. It’s one thing to just show up, but its quite another to truly have something interesting to say, to share, to invoke thought, to pique interest, to provide tangible value. With this in mind, the point isn’t about having a presence in social media, but having an actual purpose.
Microsoft wants marketers to see it in a different light -- not only as an ad seller but as a smart company full of geeks who can help it solve business problems. And the tech giant is using social media to prove it can do so. Today Microsoft is taking the wraps off a new platform called Looking Glass, a social-media aggregator and monitoring tool that's still in "proof of concept" stage, meaning it's not yet in the market and will be open to a very small group of testers next month. The idea is to connect social-media-monitoring tools to the rest of a marketer's organization -- customer databases, work orders, customer-service centers and sales data.
PSFK recently covered what the internet is killing, and this video we came across shows through various statistics how the internet is changing our lives. For example, the average American teenager sends an average of 2,272 text messages every month and more video was uploaded to YouTube in the last 2 months than if ABC, NBC and CBS had been airing new content 24/7/365 since 1948, when ABC first starting broadcasting. The cleanly presented video runs through some shocking statistics about technology and the dramatic shift of our society.
Social media is helping to forge a new era in business transparency and engagement, creating both new challenges and opportunities. Gone are the days when companies could rely on carefully crafted press releases or flashy ad campaigns to communicate with their customers, often in an attempt to convince people that their products are the best in the field. In the age of social media, the rules have changed radically, and people today demand a more honest and direct relationship with the companies with which they do business. Companies now face a clear choice: wall themselves in and become increasingly controlled and hidden, or use social media and other means to reveal their human side, welcome transparency, and forge new relationships with their customers. The old game is undoubtedly over, and the question now is, “what can businesses do to transition and succeed in this new era?”
Social media can be an incredible tool, both for producing and consuming incredible amounts of information. Over the last few years, there is no question that an unprecedented change has taken place, putting tools for publication and discovery in the hands of everyone – from simple text to photos and video. Social media tools are changing businesses in terms of how they can connect with customers, partners, peers and even the competition. But the non-stop promotion of the tools and, yes, the individuals who think they are “experts” is getting a little overwhelming. I believe that social media activity, be it Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, blog comments, Flickr, SlideShare or any other service, is part of the infrastructure. It is quickly becoming part of everything we do – both for our work lives and for personal lives.
CNBC's Advertising Week summit on how marketers connect to consumers could have been called "No, really, we love TV!" The discussion was intended to be a free-roaming exploration about consumer passion, authenticity, and marketing challenges in a world that has little trust for business. But the gravitational pull of Facebook (whose COO Sheryl Sandberg was, appropriately enough, seated dead center) kept the conversation on social media. The apparent subtext that TV might need to get its affairs in order wasn't lost on host Becky Quick, co-host of CNBC's "Squawk Box" show, who rhetorically asked more than once whether she would have a job next year.
Want to know your social media score? Fill in the following equation: (Twitter followers + Facebook friends + LinkedIn contacts) x (Total tweets + Twitterers you follow + Months on Facebook). Wait! Stop! It was a trick. If that equation sent you scrambling to look at your Twitter stats or Google analytics, it's time to take a big step back. You've fallen prey to the greatest peril of social media: analytophilia.
Journalists are truth-tellers. But I think most of us have been lying to ourselves. Our profession is crumbling and we blame the Web for killing our business model. Yet it’s not the business model that changed on us. It’s the culture. Mainstream media were doing fine when information was hard to get and even harder to distribute. The public expected journalists to report the important stories, pull together information from sports scores to stock market results, and then deliver it all to our doorsteps, radios and TVs. People trusted journalists and, on our side, we delivered news that was relevant—it helped people connect with neighbors, be active citizens, and lead richer lives. Advertisers, of course, footed the bill for newsgathering. They wanted exposure and paid because people, lots of people, were reading our newspapers or listening to and watching our news programs. But things started to change well before the Web became popular.
It's certainly not unusual that a stand up comedian like Tim Washer would be producing absurdist viral videos. What is surprising is that the IBM communications executive is doing so for his straight-laced corporate employer. He appeared at a Business Development Institute seminar on corporate social media practices last week. There, he championed the cause of creative absurdity in corporate marketing. And he warned the audience that fear and rigid thinking were the greatest obstacles to their companies' social media success.
Advertising agencies around the country are trying to figure out social media. How do we do it? How do we sell it? Do we have to? The answer is probably yes, you do have to if you want to continue to offer a full range of marketing services to your clients, and bill appropriately. Some agencies are doing a good job adjusting, hiring smart social media thinkers and getting smart about social media quickly. Others are still cocking their head sideways like a puppy trying to figure out a vacuum cleaner. Sadly, many ad agencies never figured out Interactive, let’s call it Web 1.0. Now you add a layer of Web 2.0 or social media on top of that and many agencies and their respective creatives (art directors, copywriters, designers) and clients services folks are rendered dumb struck at the thought of all things digital. There problem is that there exists a culture clash between ad agencies and social media marketing. The difficulty is the result of both philosophical and tactical problems. The good news is problems can be solved. But it will take some work.
How do you compete as an upstart in the cutthroat domestic airline industry when your marketing budget is a fraction of your rivals'? For Porter Gale, VP-marketing at domestic value carrier Virgin America, you make every dollar stretch and use social media and buzz to amplify every marketing event, all the while trying to show that Virgin is the antidote to marginal domestic air travel. In some respects Ms. Gale is a fitting candidate to run a lean, startup airline. With a master's degree in documentary film from Stanford University, she's a filmmaker who has had to figure out how to produce high-quality content on shoestring budgets.
FMCG brands are often some of the most innovative in their use of digital and social media but this great presentation from Helge Tennø shows the importance of staying ahead of the market. And of continuing to innovate what you are doing, to avoid becoming what he calls a Big Lazy Brand. His presentation outlines five ways to market FMCG brands in social media.
Over the past three years, we have tracked the rising adoption of Web 2.0 technologies, as well as the ways organizations are using them. This year, we sought to get a clear idea of whether companies are deriving measurable business benefits from their investments in the Web. Our findings indicate that they are.
Retailers have a love-hate relationship with social media, according to a study set to be released next week. The E-tailing Group, which specializes in retail sector trends, surveyed 117 companies--from small to large--to assess how retailers and brands view the social Web. The biggest concern among respondents is that consumers will "trash their products in front of a large audience," according to E-tailing Group. At the same time, companies very much want to partake in the social Web. Ninety-three percent of companies surveyed said they are seeking greater customer engagement through social-media efforts. And 76 percent want to use social networks to "mobilize advocates through word of mouth."
For corporate communications specialists and reputation managers in the post financial crisis universe, the combined elements of distrust for authority and demand for transparency converge on the internet, specifically in the realm of social media. Hardly a day goes by without a breathless email announcing yet another conference, video, webinar or book providing the definitive answer to the mysteries of bending social media to one’s will. However, the relentless hype that has accompanied its growth may exaggerate or misconstrue its impact. Professionals would do well to take a deep breath and begin to think about how to build a detailed business strategy that includes but does not necessarily focus on social media so as to create sustainable value.
They aren't in marketing, or in sales (although they do both simultaneously). They have a strong streak of digital intelligence, and their knack for creating conversations puts them far beyond the stereotypical techno-geek. Meet your neighborhood social media professionals, they're using the Web to not only put human faces on corporations and politicians, but also to defend their honor when something goes awry. Chris Brogan and Julien Smith call them "trust agents" after their book by the same name, and say that they are harnessing the power of Twitter and other social media to "build influence, improve reputation, and earn trust."
One week ago in our hour-long chat on Twitter #kaizenblog we discussed creating buzz for a good cause. Many of us have been involved with non profits at est once in our careers - either as volunteers, employees, or as contributing members in some capacity. Knowing what we know about the humanness that can be transmitted in social media communications and interactions, it would seem that a good cause would be a perfect fit for them. The ability to help spread information in the interactive space is unmatched in other media. How can we teach more organizations that support good causes create buzz?
The start of the football season kicks off the most important sales period in the pizza-delivery game. A rivalry to match a Cowboys-Redskins playoff would have to be the head-to-head shootout between pizza franchises Pizza Hut and Domino's. In media terms, there's a high level of blocking and tackling, and strategy that is played out in their advertising programs. Pizza Hut leads the $29 billion category with some 18% of pizza sales, and Domino's takes about 10% of the market. Frozen-pizza sales have jumped, as have private label with consumers trading down. As an act of defiance to the recession, both marketers have held and even increased their advertising media budgets in 2009.
Imagine for a moment that tomorrow everything blinked off. All sense of normalcy gone. No Internet. No phone. No electricity. Nothing. But darkness. What would you do? Well, if you're not throwing yourself out of a window in panic or looting the local electronics store (duh), your next step would be to start doing whatever is necessary to survive. Things like hunting for food, finding water and gathering firewood. But then what? Well, you’d probably reach out to others. That’s right, you’d turn to your network.
As an advertising lawyer, I know that times are tight and marketing budgets have been slashed. (Heck, I've had to go from triple-billing my clients to only double-billing them.) So, in the hopes of single-handedly lifting our nation out of this recession, I am providing my own mini stimulus package: a list of the seven biggest risks to your company when using social media.
Conventional wisdom about how to “get the word out” about your products is focused on finding and relating to the “influencers.” If you do this, so we’re told, you will get the “big hit” from a mention in a powerful blog or mainstream media publication and that will drive traffic to your website, generating leads that turn into closed business. Now, there’s no doubt that a TechCrunch, Scobleizer, or New York Times can, sometimes, serve as kingmaker, but here’s the equation to consider. Is the return on your effort really worth it?
As a consultant working with many brands on social media strategy and efforts, I hear a lot of perceptions about social media. Extended out to the conferences that I attend and sometimes speak at, it is surprising how often I hear the same myths about social media. These are not things that brands are just using as reasons to not engage ... they often come from brands and marketing teams that are actively using social media as well. The following is a selection of some of the myths that I hear most often, as well as some thoughts on why they are simply myths and what your brand can do to get past them.
Crises are particle accelerators for brands that reveal their fragility, as we've recently witnessed with bankrupt banks, tampered-with pizzas, poisoned pistachios, dodgy cookie dough and lethal drugs. While there are impressive tomes on crisis management, we still are littered with embarrassing reminders of the recurring gap between preparation and accomplishment. It's time to stop repeating the same mistakes when it comes to crisis management. It's also time to recognize the CMO's role in negotiating crises. As social media has enabled consumers to more actively participate in brands, the CMO arguably now has an even greater role to play in activating customer support or other mechanisms necessary at a time of crisis. That's because CMOs are more in tune with consumers; they are using social-media tools to interact with them, and they can harness those tools in a time of crisis, turning those most loyal consumers into brand ambassadors.
Many banks have started using social websites to help them with everything from healing the financial industry to promoting their latest credit cards. By embracing the most popular tools available, the industry has also been embracing the best of what social media culture has to offer, and smaller, community banks seem to be leading the charge when it comes to social media innovation. This post profiles some U.S. banks that have used social media in their marketing and communications plans in some interesting and successful ways. These banks have tapped into the root of what social media means to the community, enjoying success in the way of returning real value for their institutions.
Technology has united our professional and personal identities into one. You are no longer just the financial analyst, doctor, lawyer or “social media guru” during work hours. People all around you, sitting in cubicles, in offices and even the secretary can find out more personal information about you, with a single search in Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. There is no hiding anymore and our identities will fuse even more in the future, as we use social technologies more and more during work. Of course companies have concerns with how employees behave on the internet because it’s a reflection of their brand, as well as the employees. Smart companies understand that their employees are their greatest asset and they can harness their networks, which are visible online, to help support their initiatives.
Some of the major causes of death in the 18th Century were consumption, dropsy, and ague. Thanks to stronger and more precise diagnostic technology, we can see that TB, heart diseases, and assorted bacterial infections were the detailed causes underlying these conditions. Scientists developed the theories to model the reams of new data revealed to them, which enabled doctors to focus on treating the diseases, not the symptoms (as their predecessors had done). I'm playing with how this might parallel today’s social media experience. I really don't know where, or how far it goes.
A recent survey from eMarketer.com seems to show that U.S. executives are warming up to social media usage in the workplace. Out of 438 management, marketing and human resources executives polled, 81% saw social media as being useful for both brand-building and enhancing customer or client relationships. Just under 70% see it as a valuable recruitment tool, 64% think social media is useful for customer service, and a lower sampling at 46% saw it as improving employee morale.
For most businesses, being part of the social-media evolution is no longer a new opportunity; it's a necessity. And yet for many, one of the most basic elements of a successful strategy seems dangerously undercooked: the "what?" What exactly is this currency we're now wielding? What are its different forms, how do they travel, and do we have a real understanding of them? What makes the content we're creating socially, culturally and distinctively relevant? For multicultural audiences, this is an especially crucial consideration. For the growing "non-general market," social media means much more than just Twitter, Facebook and blogs. It includes a wide range of content and channels, paths to entry more nascent than the staid mediums and content we're all familiar with.
Fiat is going to build and promote its 2010 Mio concept car based on ideas of consumers submitted via social media. The company's website asks "In the future we're building, what should a car have that makes it mine, while still working for others?" It has prompted 1,700 ideas and more than 40,000 comments, mostly about things like putting bamboo on seats, or providing an outlet to charge laptops. The company plans to ask for branding and marketing ideas next. Fiat has yet to decide whether it will ever build or sell the thing for real. Phew. At best, it's a stupid marketing stunt.
Ford is into the eighth month of its Fiesta Movement social-media program to promote the eponymous car from Europe by letting 100 young social-media-savvy Americans drive the vehicles for several months. Each month, Ford has been assigning tasks to the "Agents" involving lots of driving and just as much blogging, Twittering, YouTubing and Flickring. This month, they will be sent to do things likely to generate more attention than what they have previously done, including training with U.S. Navy SEALS, learning to cook with insects, and going hiking in the Rockies.
Formula 50 is the Vitamin Water flavor co-created by 50 Cent, a top seller, and a personal favorite of yours-truly. As good as the flavor is, sometimes I think I could concoct something just a bit better. Vitamin Water, no strangers to social media marketing, agrees, so their handing over the keys to their flavor creator lab and tapping into the Facebook community for flavor innovation.
Recently, I discussed the validity of whether or not social networking (the verb) and social networks (as a noun) were impairing our ability to learn. A Stanford study suggested that this might be the case. It seems that the initial research and its supporting data is now emerging to help us further analyze whether or not this is indeed true or merely hypotheses based on the various samplings of individuals who may or may not serve as relevant subjects. I do believe that we are becoming an increasingly social society. It could very well be the era of introversion to extroversion.
You’re going to hear more and more people in the social media space start using the term “social business” in the coming months. It will likely replace “community building” as the corporate catch phrase of the moment. Trend setters in the industry like Charlene Li, Jeremiah Owyang, Peter Kim and random other former Forrester Research employees now cashing in are already tossing it around. It puts a prettier wrapping paper on the larger payoff for what social media thinkers do. What the term implies, at least from my perspective, is that the business in question, or what they’re trying to sell you, is one that is not driven by products or services.
eBay announced it was selling Skype, while Disney announced it was buying Marvel this week. Meanwhile, thieves cleared out an Apple store and aliens descended on Google. The People of Walmart discovered their friends were Facebook quitters, and we all got ready to ride the Google Wave. Without further ado, here are the highlights of a topsy-turvy week in social media.
It WAS bold of marketing directors to invest in digital and social media campaigns a year ago. In revisionist marketing thinking, if you hadn’t done it, you’d be crazy. If you’re the least bit curious about how digital and social media is impacting your brand, I’ll call your attention to a weeklong series about media growth in the F.T.. I’m also trying to demonstrate one of the biggest changes happening in the world of media. Namely that friends are shaping culture more than editors, by doing exactly what I am doing for you: Directing you to an interesting series of articles in the F.T.
We’ve taken a look at using your blog for good, how to do good on Twitter, and how to change the world in only 15 minutes a day, but what about using other platforms to help social good? Today we’ll look at how you can use the popular social network Facebook to help contribute something positive back to the world. Do you have other great tips for using Facebook for social good?
Walmart dwarfs Target in size, yet it loses out to its rival when it comes to consumer discussions online. Target consumers are much more likely to speak about their shopping experience, according to online buzz monitor Crimson Hexagon, while chatter about Walmart often veered into discussion of the social implications of the retailing giant when it comes to labor practices and local retailers. It examined online chatter on blogs, Twitter, social networks and message boards for a one-month period beginning in mid-July.
I recently gave a talk titled Free the People! at the Potomac Forum’s Government 2.0 Leadership, Collaboration, and Public Engagement Symposium in Washington, DC that generated enough interest for me to post my slide deck and write a summary for a wider audience. These thoughts constitute some of my early ideas about “offensive social media” for organizations (this talk was particularly geared towards a government audience, but the fundamentals apply to the private and public sectors more broadly).
The prefix “smart” indicates that smartphones are better than other phones, but this hasn’t been entirely true in the past. Yes, a smartphone can do a lot of things a regular phone can’t, however – by definition – it’s far more complex, has a steeper learning curve, and is generally not the device of choice for most of the population. This has changed in the past couple of years. Recently, Bernstein Research’s analyst Toni Sacconaghi has predicted that the smartphone market will grow 27% in 2010 and 2011, after having grown about 35% every year over the past three years. This is good news for Apple, whose iPhone – a smartphone, and the only phone Apple sells – only needs to grow with the market to achieve amazing sales numbers. But why is this happening? Have more people suddenly decided they need more powerful, but also more complex phones in their lives? I doubt it.
Practically the only thing guaranteed that social media will kill is your free time. Maybe it will kill your real-world social life too, but that's only if you choose to have an intimate relationship with your computer, at the pure neglect of the world outdoors. While it's popular and tempting to say that social media is poised to eliminate core business elements, such as marketing, public relations, or advertising, the truth is that the latest Web tools are simply infrastructure, to be used well. More traditional departments in business, and the third party vendors who provide their services, will need to adapt to a changing world, but they aren't going anywhere.
Ben & Jerry’s has never been one to follow the status quo when it comes to their ice cream flavors or their social media marketing tactics. Last month we flipped over their upside down status updates, but their latest move is making an even bigger social statement. The Vermont ice cream maker updated their Twitter account [@cherrygarcia] this morning to inform followers of their latest flavor announcement: Chubby Hubby, an all-time favorite flavor for many, is now named Hubby Hubby.
Where do you start? That’s the question I get often when I’m asked how to help a company market using social media tools. The people who contact me are smart. They tell me things like, “Yeah, they said we should start with a blog, and we said, ‘like the blog we already have?’” But what comes next is rarely a simple choice. I wanted to take you through some thoughts on what the basic building blocks of social media might be for a business (in the context of marketing, but then stretching a bit further out). Remember, roadmaps don’t work really well until you have a solid goal or destination in mind. None of this matters unless it feels right to you, regardless of my advice. You know your company’s boundaries. You know what your comfort levels are. Proceed at your organizational pace.
A new mindset is needed. There’s been a great deal of discussion of late both here and in other forums about the blurring lines between advertising and editorial and the implications for both relationship building and sales. As a measurement geek (or queen, which ever you prefer) my response is generally – who cares what you call it, focus on the results. Is what you're doing selling stuff, saving money, or making you more efficient? Great, do more of it, and less of the stuff that isn’t generating revenue.
Just last week, holding company WPP announced a decline in profits of forty seven percent and indicated there would be more massive layoffs to come. Much is being made of how, in spite of the decline in most ad budgets, the increasing use of the Internet, and particularly social media, will save the ad industries bacon. Sorry guys, it ain’t going to happen. Simply because it will be impossible for online advertising and social media to deliver everything that is expected of it. The stark reality is that advertising on the Internet is not going to grow; it’s actually going to decrease. This is what happened during the dot com explosion ten years ago; this is what’s going to happen this time around (with perhaps the single exception of Google).
According to the New York Times Bits blog, a recent study funded by the US Department of Education found that on the whole, online learning environments actually led to higher tested performance than face-to-face learning environments. “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction,” concluded the report’s authors in their key findings.
I hear versions of the same conversations almost weekly. While they're not necessarily new conversations, the tenor of them has grown considerably tenser as a result of the struggling global economy. The conversations run something like this: The chief financial officer says: "Before I spend any money in this environment, I need to know the impact of this investment. I need to see an ROI." The CMO responds with: "It's not about ROI; it's about creating awareness. Having people understand our brand will create engagement, which will lead to revenue."
While it was once regarded primarily as a private activity, innovation has increasingly become a process that encourages participation by an organization’s employees, prospects, customers and partners. This system of external or open innovation creates a community that looks very much like a social network. In fact, open innovation communities are simply a specific example of social networking.
Marketers across all industries are buzzing about social media these days, but no one has really figured it out, said Jose-Alberto Duenas, Kellogg’s marketing vp of ready-to-eat cereals in the U.S. Though digital and social media may soon overtake the 30-second spot as the most popular form of advertising, brands still have a lot of experimenting and learning to do in this space. That’s what Kellogg is doing with social media campaigns on its Special K, Pop-Tarts and Frosted Mini-Wheats brands. It’s also teamed up with Ashton Kutcher’s Katalyst Media and Feeding America to raise up to $1 million for hunger relief. Efforts like the latter program have attracted 210,000-plus in Facebook fans.
I received an email not too long ago from a professional colleague. It was a private email asking me to do them a favor. It was written rather tersely and almost demanded that I adhere to their request. The more I thought about it, the more it saddened me that their outward persona via their blog, Twitter channel and so on was upstanding and respectable, but just a ruse to disguise someone so manipulative and greedy.
Time.com's traffic trajectory in 2009 has been skyward, thanks in no small part to a partnership with Digg.com. The venerable newsweekly's Web offshoot has seen its audience balloon by 41 percent versus last year, landing at 6.7 million unique users in July, per Nielsen Online stats. And according to John Cantarella, Time.com's general manager, some of that growth is attributable to a 164 percent increase in traffic from the social news property since January.
There are more than 300 million of us in the United States, and sometimes it seems like we're all friends on Facebook. But the sad truth is that Americans are lonelier than ever.
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold. Facebook, the online social grid, could not command loyalty forever. If you ask around, as I did, you’ll find quitters. One person shut down her account because she disliked how nosy it made her. Another thought the scene had turned desperate. A third feared stalkers. A fourth believed his privacy was compromised. A fifth disappeared without a word.
In 1994 I had the opportunity to work on the first hotel company website, when we pulled together 64 pages of brochure-ware for Hyatt Resorts. At that point, keyword advertising was years away and it would be another five years before Permission Marketing would be published. As people started to think of what marketing would be like on the Internet, mass marketing was the paradigm they used, because that was what they knew. Looking back 15 years later, our mid-90s view of Internet marketing seems primitive. My opinion: In the future, our current view of social media is going to look similarly primitive, and this time we'll get smart much more quickly.
Fiat Brazil has launched an online social media initiative to gather ideas from the public for a new concept car called the ‘Mio’ which will be presented at the 2010 Brazil Auto Show. The format is less design focused than say Peugot’s long running contest, Fiat is looking for ideas that make a car personal.
Social media has enabled conversations to occur asynchronously and beyond geographic constraints, but they are still typically bounded by a reasonably well-defined group of participants in some sort of shared social context. Network-driven genres (e.g., social network sites, microblogging) complicate this because people follow the conversations in the context of individuals, not topical threads. Yet, conversations still emerge between dyads and among groups.
Kristen Nagy, an 18-year-old from Sparta, N.J., sends and receives 500 text messages a day. But she never uses Twitter, even though it publishes similar snippets of conversations and observations. “I just think it’s weird and I don’t feel like everyone needs to know what I’m doing every second of my life,” she said. Her reluctance to use Twitter, a feeling shared by others in her age group, has not doomed the microblogging service.
As a company, Whole Foods has impressively embraced social media more than most, gathering over 1.2 million followers on Twitter and 123,000 fans on Facebook in the process. While it is easy to understand why a relatively young company or one started by a tech-savvy founder would so completely embrace social media communication tools, it is quite a bit more remarkable for an almost 30 year old established brick and mortar company with roughly 50,000 employees and over 270 stores worldwide to have done so.
Starting with the book "Groundswell" and continuing now for three years running, we've analyzed consumers' participation in social technologies around the world with a tool called the Social Technographics Profile. The profile puts online people into overlapping groups based on their participation (at least once a month) in a ladder of behaviors, from Inactives, a group that doesn't participate in social technologies, to Creators, who pen blogs, publish web pages, upload video and photos and write and post stories.
A Swedish cosmetics commercial has moved almost 110,000 people to join an "I'm scared of it" group on Facebook, and prompted lots of debate on news sites, like this one. Is this an advertising success?
There’s been a lot of interesting discussion recently on how to best leverage channels like Twitter to communicate. This post talks about a bit about the co-creation of new social experiences that drive conversation and engagement in innovative ways, with the potential to then communicate the co-creation activity across multiple channels - including Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Flickr.
In a way we are all virtual stock holders in Twitter. We all have a vested interest in its success. Facebook is soon to monopolize the social stream to the same extent that Google has done with search. That is not good for anyone, including Facebook. I have had many discussions with people in recent weeks about the face-off between Twitter and Facebook and also about the high probability of Twitter cutting a deal with Google. When I was asked by Erick Schonfeld at the Real Tiime Stream Crunchup (Video) event about my opinion on Twitter giving Google their firehose feed, I responded that they could do that if they don’t plan to sell their company in the future.
There’s a blog post on MobileCrunch regarding a PR firm having their employees/interns put up fake product reviews on behalf of their clients. For the younger folk in the industry, let me make sure it’s clear that these techniques are nothing new. The difference is in today’s world the risks associated with such a move are so much higher, as you are more likely to get caught. For us to simply say “duh, don’t do it” just isn’t enough. The massive shift into self-publishing platforms (aka “the era of social media” – yawn) has radically enabled individuals to expose virtually every “truth” that’s out there.
Quick explanation for those not familiar with Facebook Connect. It is a service developed by Facebook that lets Facebook users login into partner sites using their Facebook account and share information with Facebook friends. Basically, a single sign-on authentication solution that websites can use instead of relying on building it for themselves.
Chevy worked overtime to produce a lot of buzz for the estimated 230 miles/gallon for its Volt EREV, and I'm not sure anybody cared. It wasn't as auspicious coming out party for the "new" GM. It's too bad, because the Volt EREV (for Extended-Range Electric Vehicle) deserves the attention...and GM should get the credit.
Computers may be good at crunching numbers, but can they crunch feelings? The rise of blogs and social networks has fueled a bull market in personal opinion: reviews, ratings, recommendations and other forms of online expression. For computer scientists, this fast-growing mountain of data is opening a tantalizing window onto the collective consciousness of Internet users.
Picture this: it's the year 2062 and Mark Zuckerberg, having recently celebrated his 78th birthday, is still, against all odds, running Facebook. The once-invincible social-networking behemoth has seen better days, and financially it's coasting on fumes -- Facebook's 38th round of venture-capital funding is about to run dry -- but no matter. Zuckerberg's still large and in charge, even as competitors eat away at his market share. The problem, of course, is that he never took TCOL -- total consciousness osmotic lifestreaming -- seriously, and now upstarts are using the device-free technology to run circles around Facebook.
By now, we’re all pretty familiar with how digital music works: People get sued, content gets deleted, and start-ups go bankrupt. YouTube’s ContentID marks a welcome change from that routine by freeing people to infringe copyright while generally keeping copyright holders happy. In an area known for bitter lawsuits and hastily issued “take down” notices, this is that rarest of birds: a feel-good digital music story.
Studies like this one by Pear Analytics drive me batty. They concluded that 40.55% of the tweets they coded are pointless babble; 37.55% are conversational; 8.7% have "pass along value"; 5.85% are self-promotional; 3.75% are spam; and ::gasp:: only 3.6% are news. I challenge each and every one of you to record every utterance that comes out of your mouth (and that of everyone you interact with) for an entire day. And then record every facial expression and gesture. You will most likely find what communications scholars found long ago - people are social creatures and a whole lot of what they express is phatic communication.
Tom Byron's restaurant, Pink Castle, is shaped like a giant nouveau castle, painted cotton candy pink and topped with blue fairy-tale turrets. The inside resembles an old-fashioned diner with comfy booths, checkered floors, balloons, video games and festive salsa music on the jukebox. Its most famous dish is a Pink Burger. Pink Castle has been such a success for Byron that he says he'd like to franchise it. On Facebook.
Tweets, those short messages that pack information into 140 characters, will soon include another piece of information: location. Twitter is getting ready to unveil a new feature that will add longitude and latitude to any tweet. Individual Twitter users will have the choice to activate this feature and Twitter promises it won’t store exact location data for a long period of time.
Following a recent study, "Fortune 100 CEOs Are Slackers," social media pundits have entered a heated, one-sided debate on the subject. In today's culture, current expectations are that CEOs who opt to utilize social media must essentially agree to an ongoing and continuous dialogue with anyone interested while managing their other duties. While social media has attracted tremendous attention, it has made few agencies - and only a small handful of people - any money. Why? Because the current rules of social engagement are completely unrealistic for corporate America.
I had a fantastic conversation with Frank Eliason, Duncan Riley, and Chris Brogan last night during the Microsoft Windows Mobile Developer event at Chapel in Seattle. We explored the drivers that propel companies into social labyrinths and how they participate, react and in turn, strategically plan (or should) once they’ve arrived.
According to a recent eMarketer report, Twitter - so far - isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for the marketing industry. Only 8% of those in the advertising world feel that Twitter is effective for marketing to their audiences - partially because of the lack of knowledge and awareness that the general consumer has around Twitter. Research from LinkedIn showed that while over 80% of advertisers knew Twitter, only 30% of consumers on the Web were familiar with the micro-blogging tool.
There's an interesting article over at The Baltimore Sun, suggesting that real-time reviews from movie-goers after seeing a new film have really got movie studios worried, thanks to the knock-on effect they can have on box office stats. But is it true?
I am an early adopter of social media and set up my listening post 5 years ago to scan for people, trends, and ideas related to social media and nonprofits. Listening and engaging with people has been critical to any success I’ve achieved as a social media practitioner – whether I’m blogging or fundraising for Cambodian children. For the past five years, I’ve been teaching social media workshops for nonprofits and lately doing deeper dives on the techniques of listening both for nonprofits and in my role as Visiting Scholar in Residence at the Packard Foundation. This is a four-part series about listening for nonprofit organizations summarizes the insights I’ve learned about listening.
Whole Foods aficionados who assumed the company's management was as crunchy as the brand are feeling betrayed. They have stormed Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere to vent their rage at John Mackey, the chief executive. In an op-ed column in the Wall Street Journal last week, he argued for health-care savings accounts and declared that health care is not an intrinsic right-- ideas with a conservative bent, which made Whole Foods' liberal customer base go ballistic.
Put down your guard. It’s about people, not logos. These are the two primary tenets of effective social media. In practice, executing on them requires that you communicate with your customers and prospects across a variety of social media outposts, with significant frequency.
An interesting thing happened in the past 24 hours or so: two major news stories were broken on Twitter. By itself, that’s not very remarkable; news breaks on Twitter all the time. But usually, when news first appears on social media channels such as Twitter, it’s the type of broad-reaching story that affects a lot of people on the ground.
Historically, marketing has been departmentalized in corporations and positioned as a college major. With the advent of social media and our current economic situation, marketing has become a topic that everyone should—and can—care about and have expertise in. Now anyone with an Internet connection and some ambition can develop their own marketing platform, which can be harnessed for both career and financial success.
Ben Huh is the first to admit his company could easily have wound up on FAIL Blog. For the uninitiated, that's his wildly popular website to which users submit photos and videos documenting such colossally stupid moves as writing a billboard partly in Braille and using a trash can as a bike helmet. Like the rest of the 20-odd websites Huh owns, FAIL Blog was added to his empire for no more specific reason, he says, than "Dude, I think it's funny."
Knob Creek bourbon has announced that it may run out of stock yet this summer, and that thirsty customers will have to wait until the next batch arrives on store shelves in November. I think this is brilliant, old-school marketing. One of the most important brand attributes of successful products and services is success; consumers want to know that other consumers want stuff, and sales is a qualifier that goes far beyond conversation as proof of that interest.
The buzz for the arrival of the 2010 Ford Fiesta subcompact car in the United States is building. That's no small task, given that Ford hasn't sold a car called the Fiesta in the United States since the period from 1978 to 1980.
Facebook continues to make a series of evolutionary moves in recent months, rather than react to the news, let’s take a holistic look at where the company is headed. I’ve given my perspective to SFGate, now but want to dive into details here. I’ll give my perspective, but as we’ve seen time and time before, the real value is the collective contributions in the comments.
I recently wrote about how, in future, search could greatly benefit on-demand digital television, but the future of search doesn't start there and isn't even that futuristic. I think search is about to undergo a major evolutionary shift that will change the underpinnings of how search works, is used, and is defined.
For more than five months, a minute-long clip featuring a pair of children gyrating their eyebrows to the old-school hip-hop hit "Don't Stop the Rock" has been one of the most popular videos around, racking up millions of views around the internet. Made by Fallon, London, for Cadbury, "Eyebrow Dance" is one of several odd, soft-selling commercial creations from this side of the Atlantic Ocean now dominating Advertising Age's Viral Video Chart. Its wild popularity, along with that of T-Mobile's "Dance," Evian's "Rollerbabies" and Samsung's LED Sheep, begs the question: What makes U.K. ads so infectious?
Twitter's effectiveness as a marketing tool is still up for debate -- but don't tell that to Homer Simpson or Jay Leno. Along with dozens of other TV characters and personalities on a variety of networks, their shows are being actively promoted on the short-form chat network, part of a drive by the major broadcasters to generate awareness and buzz for their new fall schedules.
I've spent a few columns this week looking at innovative usages of social media by big brands. Along the way, I've noticed many companies fail to fully capitalize on these efforts--they are not promoting their Facebook, Twitter, iPhone apps and other alternative platforms to their loyal customers as much as they could.
At a recent performance of “Next to Normal,” the Broadway musical at the Booth Theater on West 45th Street, Alice Ripley, who won a Tony for her portrayal of Diana, a suburban mother with bipolar disorder, was reaching to answer a cordless telephone when she knocked it off the stage. Fourth wall broken, Ms. Ripley asked, with a smile, “Could you hand that to me?” Audience members were suddenly on all fours, but when they could not find the prop, a woman in the front row held up her cellphone, which Ms. Ripley accepted and spoke her lines into before tossing it back, to laughter and applause.
One of the top 10 questions in social media marketing asked is “How do we kick start our community?” This post aims at providing some resources for brands that are preparing their community strategy. The old adage of the field of dreams isn’t true -if you build it–they won’t necessarily come. Brands must have a kick start plan to be successful with their community. Below, I’ll list out some practices I’ve heard from companies that have had successful communities, and I’d ask you chime in and add more ways, let’s get started, I’ll be as specific and actionable as possible.
A recent survey conducted by Proofpoint found that 8% of companies had terminated employees due to social media usage (common causes including sharing sensitive information on a network). And while the statistic seems significant, it only underscores one of several upcoming challenges nearly every organization will face as changes in people, process and technology fueled by the collective movement we call social media begin to transform business. Here are a few challenges that every organization should be planning for right now. If you aren't you will be.
Twitter went down last week, and the world got very quiet. People didn't know what do with themselves; they wanted to tweet the news that Twitter was down, but that was out of the question. Entire overheard conversations went unremarked upon, and mini-reviews of recent episodes of True Blood withered on the vine. I saw a funny Onion video that I was sure my followers would have appreciated and an outrageous Rush Limbaugh quote that demanded my impassioned response, but what could I do? Twitter was down for just a few hours—the service's first major outage during its new era of ubiquity—and it felt strange.
Media companies know that they’re not the only voices in the auditorium –the audience now talks back. They create media, content, and share it directly with each other on social sites —now brands, like Warner seek to embrace them closer. Rather than allow this inevitable social interaction on social networks like MySpace, they want to take it back by launching their own social features.
For years, Facebook and Twitter have maintained a friendly coopetition of sorts, with neither one taking a firm stance against the other. However, if you believe that Mark Zuckerberg does not actively contemplate strategies for either acquiring Twitter or rendering it obsolete, please think about the landscape and monetization drivers that aren’t yet readily apparent to us as everyday consumers. This may seem like the “Social Media Summer of Love,” but in the end, there are billions of dollars and users at stake here.
Starbucks has been racking up accolades in the digital and social media space. As of July 23, the coffee chain surpassed Coca-Cola as the most popular brand on Facebook, with more than 3.6 million fans, per InsideFacebook.com, an independent blog that tracks the social networking site’s developments. It was also named the No. 1 “most engaged brand” in a report published by Altimeter Group last month. These recent feats are the result of Starbucks’ aggressive digital and social media strategy, said Starbucks digital strategy director Alexandra Wheeler in an interview with Brandweek. That's because Starbucks has moved from “experimenting” to actively incorporating and utilizing social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, in its brand marketing plans.
You walk into a room full of people. Your first action, if you’re like most of us, is to scan the faces for someone you know. Barring that, you’ll walk towards whoever seems friendliest, or you’ll find a quiet space and observe. Imagine now that someone you know enters the room. Your eyes light up, and you probably smile involuntarily. Now here’s the thing: if this person knows most of these people in the room, he or she suddenly has an equation to work out FAST: should he or she introduce you, and if so, how will he or she do so? What’s the appropriate level of social capital that will become exchanged in the process? Does he or she endorse you, or just know you? This is difficult in the face-to-face world, but it’s even harder online.
In a world where the real social media players count their subscribers in the tens or hundreds of millions, Friendfeed hardly moves the needle. Mired at a million or so unique visitors a month and facing the likelihood of being crushed to a fine powder when Google Wave hits the streets, Friendfeed's investors and managers decided to take the first convenient off ramp when Facebook came a-calling. By now you've probably heard the specifics, since practically anyone with a keyboard has been breathlessly tapping away since the deal was made public late Monday: $50 million, most of which will be paid in Facebook stock. A nice payday for Friendfeed's small team (and most likely a relief to the company's investors, who must have known Friendfeed wasn't going anywhere as a solo act). But not a vast sum of money for a company that pays a million dollars a month just the keep the lights on. So why all the attention?
Twitter has been described many ways. At its best, it has been called a revolutionary political tool and a low-cost marketing machine. At its worst, it has been dubbed a waste of time. Now, two researchers are calling it a hedonimeter, a device that measures happiness.
"I love her, she's clean," says Juan Román Riquelme while kissing a soccer ball in a viral video Buenos Aires' digital agency Brandigital made for Adidas. In it, he "hace jueguito" (plays with the ball to show his skills), while being shot at with paintballs. Why did Riquelme -- one of Argentina's most acclaimed and controversial football players -- talk about the ball being clean? Well, "clean" in Argentine slang means untouched and unstained in its honor. And "the ball must not be stained" were Diego Maradona's parting words the days he officially retired as a player.
Karl and Dorsey Gude of East Lansing, Mich., can remember simpler mornings, not too long ago. They sat together and chatted as they ate breakfast. They read the newspaper and competed only with the television for the attention of their two teenage sons. That was so last century. Today, Mr. Gude wakes at around 6 a.m. to check his work e-mail and his Facebook and Twitter accounts. The two boys, Cole and Erik, start each morning with text messages, video games and Facebook.
The term “pop culture” appeared around 1960, just as its meaning became confused. High-culture up-and-comers were embracing pop imagery and tropes with a vengeance, and the best and brightest creators of entertainment were suddenly producing work of thrilling sophistication and complexity. It was also the coming-of-age moment for the first baby boomers, a cohort defined by its television-saturated upbringing and unparalleled level of college education — a generation, in other words, unapologetic in its love of commercial pop even as it put on arty airs.
I've been meaning to post a long-ish rant on the importance of celebrities taking control of their own platforms, but never gotten to it, in part because I'm not that enamored with the incessant selling of celebrity that occurs in our culture. Yeah, I sound like a grumpy old man, but I can't help myself. It bums me out - not because I don't like celebrities, but because the current approach strikes me as driven by short term thinking.
Media consumption is changing. You don't need me to tell you that. But you may be unaware just how much it's shifting as we embrace "the stream." What's the stream? It's a way of consuming content as a continuous feed of brief bits, singles, 10-minute videos, tweets and status updates. It reflects the societal shift from analog to digital. And it's a natural fit for the web, where attention spans are minuscule.
Paragon of Rust Belt manufacturing and an icon since World War II, Zippo wears its American-ness on its sleeve. So does its VP-sales and marketing, Mark Paup, who has spent his entire 15-year career at Zippo and now leads all sales, marketing, design and product development for the Bradford, Pa.-based company. A smoker who rides a Soft Tail Nightrain Harley, you could say Mr. Paup, 44, fits the psychographic of the Zippo consumer.
More than 80 per cent of the largest US advertisers are using Facebook to promote themselves, suggesting that corporate America has embraced the social networking site as a mainstream promotional platform. This marks a striking shift. Companies were initially hesitant to advertise on social networks because users appeared resistant to advertising and there were fears that corporate logos might appear alongside offensive content.
If you are involved in creating digital strategy or working with social media from a professional point of view, you are bound to hear the word “influence” bandied about. Maybe you have been asked to work up an influencer outreach program for a new product. Perhaps you are thinking about commissioning an influencer engagement strategy to help you tap into the pot of gold that the social graph represents. Whatever your reasons, consider this first …
Wikipedia tells us that active listening is an intent to “listen for meaning”. Others suggest that active listening should “focus on who you are listening to, whether in a group or one-on-one, in order to understand what he or she is saying.” These are excellent definitions. But as it relates to customer interactions on the social web, active listening is only one half of the equation.
Providence, RI now has a new slogan -- "Creative Capital" -- and a logo, thanks to a $100,000 gig with a branding firm that specializes in helping communities respond to the drastic downturn in employment, investment, and solvent home mortgages with image marketing. If I find out that any Stimulus funds are getting spent on this nonsense, count me in as a parade leader when we march on Washington.
Mashable this week posted about the low numbers of teens on Twitter. The post invited readers to weigh in on why they thought this was (e.g. they’re too private, they prefer texting, etc) – once the comment count spilled into the hundreds, Mashable wrote a follow up post further analyzing the issue. At the risk of throwing my hat into an already crowded ring, here’s why I think Twitter sees low adoption among teens: Teenagers, for the most part, do not yet posses weak social ties – the very connections that fuel nearly all of twitter’s growth.
Twitter, the popular microblogging site, was out of service much of the day Thursday as it worked to defend itself against a Web attack, but service appeared to have been restored by late evening. Many of Twitter’s 45 million legitimate visitors were unable to use the service for hours. Analysts characterized the disruption as a denial-of-service attack, in which hackers overwhelm a Web site by sending it a deluge of junk requests, and one suggested the attack might have originated in Russia or Georgia.
How big is the obese fashion consumer marketplace? Huge. Greater than 86% of Americans will be overweight or obese by 2030, according to the journal Obesity. That makes skinny fashion the new niche, and plus-size apparel mainstream. Yet Lane Bryant, the biggest name in large-sized women's clothing retailing, has set up "Inside Curve," a social networking community "just" for the plus-sized gal. In an attempt to freshen up the brand image, the company is promising an interactive experience on the site for its members, with greater engagement based on fashion appeal versus its long-standing position: large sizes.
Southern Comfort just moved its entire $8m media budget online. Whole Foods was the first brand with 1m followers on Twitter. Coca-Cola pioneered brand generosity on Facebook. Underlying all of this is the fact that social media is the great equalizer. Not just between brands and the consumers of these brands, but between dominant brands and their challengers.
No, this isn't "the year for location" in mobile. That phrase has become industry cliche by now. But it's hard to ignore the hype that one location-based service called Foursquare is getting in some circles -- and no advertiser should. The NYC-based startup has built a sticky platform, an avid fan base and, quite possibly, the next-generation platform for proximity marketing.
24% of Tweets are created by automated bots, not humans, according to a recent study. Meanwhile, it was found that 5% of Twitter accounts generate 75% of Tweets. The “Inside Twitter” study, conducted last month by Sysomos, surprised researchers when they discovered that such a small number of accounts were generating so much of Twitter’s content. Now, they’ve published in-depth data looking more closely at that highly-active 5% of the userbase.
The explosion in new media channels, and the increasing ease with which consumers can react to, create content about, and generally discuss brands is challenging even the best marketers. How do you manage your brand in such a chaotic consumer empowered world and ensure that consumers understand your brand equity?
Taco Bell, hoping to connect with more of its young consumers online and through social media, has selected R/GA, San Francisco and New York, as its digital shop of record. The chain said R/GA will begin by revamping the fast feeder's website from what the company calls an "entertainment portal" to a more user-friendly destination for information.
The realization of a functional collective conscious is the ultimate outcome of ubiquitous digital communications. Our collective conscious refers to the things we all know, i.e. shared cultural knowledge, beliefs, morals, etc. A functional collective conscious refers to the new wealth of shared knowledge enabled by ubiquitous and instantaneous access to the internet. We are steadily moving towards a reality in which as soon as one person gains a piece of information, every human on Earth gains that piece of information.
Eastman Kodak is being restructured for the second time since 2003. It just posted its fourth consecutive quarterly sales decline, down 29% to $1.77 billion in the second quarter, and a net loss of $189 million. Even so, its CMO is becoming something of a celebrity through his tweets about behind the scenes tours of Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show and his prime-time TV appearances of NBC's The Apprentice. What is he doing for Kodak's brand, and how can social media help the company?
Late last month, IAC Chairman Barry Diller said that it's "mythology" to view the Internet as a system of free communications. He’s absolutely right; what's wrong is why he'd even have to say it, or that it would merit any news coverage.
We live in a conversation driven world. Even if your brand is not an active user of social media, your customers and potential customers are. This is revolutionizing the way brands have to think about themselves and how they choose to compete. In a conversation driven world, the real threat is not conversation itself, but commoditization. Unless customers have reason to talk, they won't. And a brand that generates little or no conversation will be killed by one that does.
With the recent spate of companies such as United Airways, Domino’s Pizza and Habitat UK, being hit by negative publicity online, one could be forgiven for thinking that social media can be used as a cure-all for such issues. But in fact, social media will only ever be a band-aid for such problems, unless it’s tied into fundamental changes in the way such companies operate.
Procter & Gamble’s Dawn brand is cozying up to social media to drive awareness of wildlife conservation and cultivate an online community of followers. The dish care brand has been linked to wildlife rescue and animal rehabilitation care throughout its 36-year history, but, in a first for the brand, Dawn is actually running limited edition store packaging that asks consumers to help by purchasing a bottle of Dawn.
"It seems like there is always another social network to join or another tool I'm supposed to learn. How can I keep up?" At every talk I give, somebody asks this question. Here's the answer: you can't.
Consider for a moment that the humble Amazon product review can nullify millions of dollars of ad spend, that a search for "best razor" on Google can route around all of Gillette's best efforts to communicate the "best a man can get," and that a "hate Comcast" group on Facebook has the power to drive a consumer straight into the arms of DirectTV.
Meeting radically changing customer expectations is a massive and snowballing challenge for established players in the global communications industry, confirms a new study from the CMO Council and its Customer Experience Board.
Back in March, I asked people to quit whining about Facebook's redesign. It wasn't that I liked the radical changes the site had made—they were unquestionably terrible. In an online poll that attracted more than 1 million respondents, 94 percent panned the new design. But I doubted the numbers: People always hate when their favorite site is redesigned. Lots of users were probably responding more to the suddenness of the changes than to the substance, and we'd all get over it soon enough. Five months later, I feel vindicated
Twitter cofounders have talked about the importance of discovery in interviews and at conferences over the last several months. This week a new design for Twitter.com went live featuring top tweets and a search box to find more of what you want, but Twitter and many other web companies could improve discovery much more by incorporating other players’ data.
Twitter may be free of advertising, but that hasn't stopped brands from trying to get in front of users glued to the fast-growing service. They've made their presence felt in subtler ways, such as holding quizzes and donating to charities in the hopes visitors will tweet about a brand. One of the more recent efforts involves brands looking for a persistent presence in the Twitter stream through users' profile pictures.
After participating in a Digital Brand Think Tank in Munich a couple of weeks ago (a lively discussion with 20 marketing executives from Audi, BMW, Google, Continental, and other top-tier brands), I must admit that I’m a bit tired of having to evangelize (or even justify) the value of brands using social media. It is astonishing to me that companies still ask for evidence when the tweet is on the wall. The event showed that there is a new Digital Divide that cuts straight through the ranks of the marketing industry--some executives get the Social Web, some don’t. No one has figured it out yet. Most would admit that they need to catch up and keep learning.
Internet fads have proven to be short-lived, "jumping the shark" and falling from grace as swiftly as they rose. Twitter will prove to be the exception because of its one permanently-redeeming quality: simplicity.
If your company wants to know the philosophical basis of social media, many resources indicate it rests in the notion that consumers grew tired of advertising and marketing messages all day, every day. They turned to the Internet in the late 1990s and early 2000s when the access and technology barriers to entry conveniently dropped. There, they found like-minded others to share recommendations and information with.
When marketers want to reach users of social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, or Cyworld, they have two choices: buy advertising or start a viral campaign. New research by Harvard Business School professor Sunil Gupta suggests that viral may be the way to go in these connected worlds. But first it's important to understand both who influences purchase decisions in online communities and which groups of users can be influenced.
All too frequently, someone makes a comment about how a large number of Facebook Friends must mean a high degree of social capital. Or how we can determine who is closest to who by measuring their email messages. Or that the Dunbar number can explain the average number of Facebook friends. These are just three examples of how people mistakenly assume that 1) any social network that can be boiled down to a graph can be compared and 2) any theory of social networks is transitive to any graph representing connections between people. Such mistaken views result in broad misinterpretations of social networks and social network sites.
Your customers are talking about you — and the whole world is listening. Local review sites are reshaping the world of small business by becoming the new Yellow Pages, one-stop platforms where customers can find a business — and also see independent critiques of its performance. How do you manage your reputation when everybody is a critic?
Welcome to the third interview in the Social Media Mavens series, where I talk to some of the top minds in corporate social media, and learn how their companies are crafting their social media efforts. Today's installment features a recent chat I had with Kodak's Director of Interactive Marketing and Convergence Media, Tom Hoehn. Tom has also been a driving force behind Kodak's social media efforts, which includes the stellar A Thousand Words, which is one of the best corporate blogs out there.
Twitter now has a brand spankin’ new homepage. Of course, if you’re a regular Twitter user, you’re rarely going to see it because you’re already logged in. But for the 5 billion+ people Twitter has yet to convert, it provides the company’s big chance to get them to sign up and stay on their website.
Once upon a time, there was a talented young girl in PR called Vanessa. Vanessa rocked PR: she wrote like a pro, could spin fabulous yarns and had relationships with masses of journalists and media outlets around the land. And then something scary happened... A big, bad monster called Social Media came to town.
Successful businesses are always making choices and sacrifices, strategically looking as to how they are going to prioritize their resources, including human capital, budgets, and, of course, time. As the world around them adapts, so too do they need to make changes internally to respond, or to predict where trends are going – and if they guess right, the business could catapult ahead of less-agile competition.
Those who are seeking social media careers need to remember that social media technologies are secondary to meeting business and customer needs. I’ve been interviewing social media strategists at corporations or their bosses for my upcoming report on social skills needed in brands. I also get emails from hiring managers who are trying to hire folks to develop strategy and manage ongoing social programs at large brands. Lastly, I’ve spoken to social media recruiters who have a very hard time finding qualified candidates. One theme comes across many of these conversations: many candidates are incorrectly positioning themselves.
Lately I've been paying closer attention to how people use social media. Not just their usage of the tools, but how they use the tools to interact with other people. What I'm noticing, and surprisingly this comes from the so-called 'experts' as well, is that many people can be decidedly anti-social in the way they use social media. I've seen company representatives get snippy and angry if they are challenged even mildly in blog comments. People on Twitter that speak in statements, that actually discourages interaction. Of course there's always no shortage of people that promote themselves and their companies, but never anyone else.
Last week the Altimeter Group, run by former Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li, and online marketing firm Wetpaint released a study that analyzed the 100 most valuable brands (according to BusinessWeek/Interbrand) and how they engage across 11 different online social-media venues, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The study was billed as creating an "engagement database" and ranked Starbucks No. 1, followed by Dell and eBay, based on their breadth and depth of social engagement. Google, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, Nike, Amazon, SAP and Yahoo/Intel (a tie) round out the top 10. What was eye-popping was the correlation they made between social engagement and financial performance.
Teens create their identities by defining and redefining who they are -- a constant creative and collaborative process by seeking friends' input and, ultimately, their endorsements. Fashion is one of the key outlets teens have for self expression as well as assimilation. How teens dress signifies many things, from what peer group they associate with to how they want the world to perceive them.
Twitter has been talking about offering special paid services for businesses for quite a while. On Thursday night, the start-up took one step closer. Twitter unveiled Twitter 101, a series of Web pages and a downloadable slideshow that explain what Twitter is and how businesses can use it, along with case studies of a few companies that use Twitter.
Who is Claude VonStroke? Is Dan Deacon familiar? Perhaps you have heard of Amanda Palmer? Or Erol Alkan? If you are a serious fan of independent music it's likely one or more of these names rings a bell. What might be surprising is the extent to which these four -- and many dozens of independent musicians like them -- can teach both scrappy startup brands and major CPG players how to most effectively make social media work.
Is customer service a media channel? It's a great time to ask that question, as it comes right smack in the wake of Amazon purchasing Zappos for nearly a billion dollars. That's a big number for an online shoe company.
One of the most common reason stated by small businesses for not embracing social networking is that they can’t measure or, worse yet, don’t believe there is any solid return on the investment of participation. I get emails almost daily from frustrated marketers who want to dive more fully into social networking, but can’t convince the boss that it’s worth it.
Here's one of the things we do at Forrester Research: we interview as many marketers as we can about their plans, identify trends and project future likely conditions, and then we put together some numbers to make a projection. If you've ever seen a Forrester projection, it comes from a process like this.
In nearly every conference room across the business landscape it's inevitable that at some point the phrase "social media" enters the discussion. Marketers, PR and salespeople are among the first to engage in the discussions, trying to figure how networks can be leveraged to sell more stuff. But I'd like to propose another way to approach the topic. What if we looked at "social media" as a design problem?
What big brands do the best job with social media? A new study by analyst Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group and Wetpaint ranks the top 100 brands by social media engagement.
I've been thinking about the integration challenge with social media. Advertising, marketing, and public relations need to work together - and in this environment, they need to put the customer is the driver's seat. I'm sure you'll find reason to build on the analogy or help me rebuild it.
On July 1, Moonfruit was a below-the-radar Web-site building company with 400 followers on Twitter. Just a few days later, the London-based company had acquired 47,000 followers on the micro-blogging site, traffic to its home page had increased by 1,300% and the word "moonfruit" was popping up all over the Internet.
A 15 year-old working in Morgan Stanley's London office has written what may be the firm's most popular research report in years. In it, he explains that none of his friends read newspapers and few watch TV. He also, interestingly, says none of them use Twitter, because no one reads the tweets. In any event, the report has electrified the investment world, which appears to have suddenly clued into the fact that traditional media is in trouble.
While speaking at the intimate and immensely valuable Zappos Insights event (Zappos Live), I shared thoughts of how the culture of any company or brand is as strong as the individual personification of it. Everything starts and fortifies with you. Your actions and words online are indeed extensions to how people interpret, perceive, and react to the brand your represent. Concurrently, you also represent your personal brand – the digital identity that’s established through the collection of digital shadows you cast across the social web.
This post is about social interaction design. I’ve been gestating around the concept of “frames” for the past couple weeks. Frames of meaning, frames of experience, and frames as a concept for a user-centric description of social interactions.
In the world of social media, scale is everything. Media darlings Twitter and Facebook boast, what, 30 sextillion members? It's enough to cause marketers to practically foam at the mouth.
A reverb (or reverberation) is typically used to describe sound--or more specifically the instance where a sound continues despite the original source of the sound being removed. If you apply the same idea to social media, a reverb describes the unique fact that every action in social media is not just done, but is also broadcast across a particular individual's social graph online.
When a basketball-size hole opened earlier this week in the fuselage of a Southwest plane, which was rerouted and landed safely, Twitter helped the airline manage the story.
One thing about summer is that you get out and see more people, more often at social events, barbecues, on the golf course and at the beach. One topic that has been coming up with those inside and outside our industry is the notion of free media. Or at least that's how those outside our industry refer to it.
I was delighted to be the email advocate on a panel on “Creating an Environment for Viral Marketing Success,” moderated by entrepreneur and author Guy Kawasaki last Thursday. It was a virtual complement to the SmartBrief Buzz2009 event, held in Washington DC with more than 80 association executives.
Late last month, American Airlines launched a social media campaign to register 10,000 New York area "friends" on Facebook. I think the program evidenced a number of neat ideas, though ultimately revealed the limitations of social media as currently defined.
We need to be careful when we talk about digital media, that we don't get the tools mixed up with the behaviors. Obsessing over the significance of one site over another, or arguing the importance of participating on a site while not even considering what you're going to do when you get there or if it's even the right place, is a waste of time.
Sixteen-thousand samples distributed, 3,100 fans professing their admiration and 1,500 product surveys completed. Those are the results from a first-of-its-kind campaign conducted by Splenda for its Splenda Mist prototype, a pocket-size spray form of the sweetener, which has yet to hit the market. Traditionally, marketers in that situation might peddle freebies at grocery stores, embrace street sampling or organize focus groups. Splenda instead turned to Facebook.
Best Buy, the US electronics retailer, has asked internet users for advice on defining a new marketing position at the company, in an extreme example of how companies are responding to the explosion of online social media.
It's been called micro-blogging, micro-sharing and a variety of other phrases including the word ambient. But there's a significant attribute that's been less discussed and is critical to both business and social implications regarding how we live and work. Technology allows us to signal our every movement, thought, action and status in real time. It's pretty powerful stuff and why millions of people are addicted to telling their own social systems what they are doing whether it be a status update on Facebook or a tweet.
I’m blogging from the Real-Time Stream event in Redwood City, California organized by TechCrunch. I will share more of my thoughts and observations in a series of posts at a later time – there’s just so much too process in “real time.” Let’s just say that the future of search, streams and the concept of the “Now Web” is blindingly bright.
To Increase Engagement, Brands to Allow Users To Login With Facebook, MySpace, Twitter In a recent report titled the “Future of the Social Web” we found that we are entering the era of social colonization, every webpage and experience will be social–even if brands choose not to participate.
The package-goods model has always been a no-brainer: Create a mass-appeal product; distribute it nationally; stoke demand with big-budget, shotgun-style advertising to spray the widest possible market; and hope sales hit the magical $100 million first-year benchmark.
At the Real-Time Stream event in Redwood City, California organized by TechCrunch, industry pioneers and pundits discussed the state and future of the Real-Time Web also increasingly referred to as the “now” Web.
Social media has evolved beyond a series of platforms that enable content publishing, sharing, and discovery into a genuine, peer-to-peer looking glass into the real world conversations that affect the perception, engagement, and overall direction of the brands we represent.
Pandemics. Global warming. Food shortages. No more fossil fuels. What are humans to do? The same thing the species has done before: evolve to meet the challenge. But this time we don’t have to rely on natural evolution to make us smart enough to survive. We can do it ourselves, right now, by harnessing technology and pharmacology to boost our intelligence. Is Google actually making us smarter?
I just asked my friends on Twitter what their first social network was (see their responses), and most gave a varying degree of responses of web based communities, a few claimed early BBS systems –I didn’t see anyone claim email.
Facebook has won over millions of users from social networking pioneer MySpace. It's becoming more alluring to advertisers, too. Even as overall U.S. advertising spending on social networks declines this year, ad sales are on the rise at Facebook, and the company is gaining a larger slice of the pie at the expense of News Corp.'s (NWS) MySpace, according to a new report from marketing researcher eMarketer.
Most people measure the workday in hours, but for a new crop of employees—interns in charge of their companies' Twitter feeds—the day is measured in tweets. "I try to get in at least 10 posts a day," says Alexa Robinson, 22, who started work as Pizza Hut's first official "twintern" in June. Robinson spends much of the day on the free microblogging service Twitter sending out messages about special promotions, responding to customer complaints, and trolling Twitter for mentions of Pizza Hut.
With teens now spending more than 31 hours a week online, it's clear where marketers need to be to tap into this demographic. Last year, 93% of teens were hanging out online, but not just "hanging out"; they are actively participating, collaborating and sharing with each other.
I spent many years of my career in the hospitality business and the first rule of thumb when dealing with customers was, “if a guest had a positive experience, they’ll tell 3 people and if they had a negative experience, they’ll tell 10.” That same idea holds true in the new media world, except the numbers have grown exponentially. Instead of it being 3 people – it’s 3,000, or instead of 10 – it’s perhaps 100,000. The numbers aren’t meant to scare you. But what should you do when something goes wrong?
Marketers looking to leverage Twitter beware: The company will only let you rig the system so much, as one brand recently discovered. Moonfruit, a U.K.-based company that offers free Web site building tools, saw a great opportunity to raise brand awareness on Twitter. The company last week kicked off a sweepstakes, giving away 10 MacBook Pro computers to Twitter users that include the #moonfruit tag in their tweets. (The sweepstakes ended on July 7.) The campaign worked, maybe too well. The hashtag #moonfruit was Twitter's top trending topic for several days, with more than 250 tweets a minute.
Do you Twitter? Then you are more interested in sex than the average Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn user. Like LinkedIn? You're more likely to watch soap operas. Favor MySpace? You're probably not into exercise. Which social network you favor says a lot about you -- and you might be surprised just what it says. A new study by Anderson Analytics is helping identify users' likely interests, buying habits, media consumption and more for marketers. The survey studied the demographics and psychographics of both social networkers and non-users and found that "there are definite data-driven segments in the social-networking-site market, both for non-users and users," said Tom Anderson, founder and managing partner.
Forrester Research released its five year forecast that estimates interactive marketing spending from 2009 – 2014. Forrester predicts that interactive marketing in the US will near $55 billion and represent 21% of all marketing spend by 2014 and will include search marketing, display advertising, email marketing, social media, and mobile marketing. More significantly however, overall advertising in traditional media will continue to decline in favor of less expensive, more effective interactive tools and services.
I imagine there are two camps: those who believe you can teach someone how to use social media and those who think it’s absurd to teach people to do what they can learn on their own. The term “Social Media” covers such a gamut of technologies, approaches, tools and lessons learned that it’s challenging to think about how a training course could be packaged and would stay current, but I’d like to explore what a course could achieve.
Engagement is the buzzword of choice when social media experts get together to pontificate. And while I agree that engagement, and ultimately action, is the payoff of social media, few social media experts talk about how it’s really created. Engagement is not really created by being a nice, genuine, caring and attentive sort of chap on twitter. It’s hard to create much momentum in any kind of social network without some of those qualities, but true engagement, engagement that leads to customers and partners, is created with content. Or, perhaps more accurately, engagement is created with engaging content.
Imagine for a moment that you're standing on an overpass high above a busy L.A. freeway like the 405 or the 5. It doesn't really matter which. Pick one. In a span of a few minutes literally thousands of cars will speed buy. Some will be loud. Others quiet. Some will be notable, but most won't.
Leo Babauta has written the perfect post for some of the thoughts I've been having about marketing, social media and the age of the customer. In it, he encourages us to be lusting for life, not stuff. I couldn't agree more. I find that the more I know myself, the more refined and specific grows my taste on wines, food and yes, stuff - like jewelry, clothing, cars, even vacations.
The radical decentralization of the means of cultural production and distribution it has brought about, that I mentioned in the slidecast in my last post, "Social Begins At Home," has changed the very nature of the audience--of what an audience is.
It's hard to get tangible results from social media. Giants from Coca-Cola to Wal-Mart Stores have set up Web sites where customers can share their interest in the brand. But many of these sites don't attract enough visitors to form a real community or have been slammed by critics, as was the case at schoolyourway.walmart.com. The retailer killed it in 2006 after just three months.
As Twitter moves into the business mainstream -- nearing some 35 million unique global visitors, according to ComScore -- it's increasingly clear that one community has yet to fully embrace the social-networking tool du jour: agencies.
I'm asking because technically, it really isn't. Let's take a step back and think about the strong word in the term social media. We've had all kind of media for ages - print, then the novelty of radio, then video that supposedly killed the radio stars (they also said that sound in movies would never take off, oh my), then the Web.
While we discuss how earned media is an output of the combination of paid media and owned media, I think the simplification of the three terms has made a mess out of the expectations of clients everywhere. Earned media isn't an easy acquisition metric like a click. You can't outbid a brand for earned media. It's a continuous, it's laborious, and it requires a large percentage of human engagement to be considered effective.
Marketers trying to horn in on the conversations happening on the Web are paying closer attention to what many consider the ultimate prize: Facebook's user profiles.
Brands are pollinating the social web with easy-to-share features like Sharethis. As conversations splinter across the web, brands must prepare to aggregate those same conversations on their corporate website. As a result, the trusted conversations will centralize back on product pages.
I recently spoke at and attended the Conversational Marketing Summit in NYC. On day two, I heard something from Brian Wallace of Blackberry that echoed thoughts I've been preaching for a while. He said "I was selling in the idea that social media is free, until the community manager headcount came in."
Recent news stories about Social Media being bigger than email as well as the recent beta release of Google Wave have made marketers rethink their email strategies, but should we really be moving our email efforts to social media? And if not, should they be kept apart, or can they truly work in unison?
It was a comment from Zoë and a title of a blog post from Chris Brogan that made me ask the question. Twitter can be tiring and pointless noise, and social media can be a bunch of chores, if the intent does not match the intention. If your involvement is not engagement, then what happens to the outcomes?
Traditional influence has followed a systematic top-down process of developing and pushing “controlled” messages to audiences for decades, rooted in one-to-many, faceless broadcast campaigns.
Are we overdue for a "slow-marketing" movement? After all, the "slow foods" movement is making real headway, and there's the much-needed "slow-parenting" movement. Why should marketing be exempt?
While many marketers are starting to understand that their employees can be their greatest asset, one small barbecue chain has taken it to an entirely new level. Smokey Bones, a 68-unit franchise concentrated in Florida and on the Eastern seaboard, has given some of its employees second jobs -- as its social marketers.
The Associated Press' new social networking policy shows, once again, that the news organization hasn't yet grasped the workings of digital media.
Consider this: conversation is to selling what cooking is to eating. Process. Not ingredients, nor consumption. How, not what. You wouldn't know it from the hype and confusion that surrounds the social media space, though. Conversation is an absolute good, an ideal that, once achieved, spins off numerous lesser benefits. It's a synonym for selling. If only our businesses talked to consumers more often, the brands would be strengthened, and the bottom-lines improved.
Talk to Sally Grimes and you'll quickly realize that to her, the Sharpie is more than just another marker. "It's about self-expression," she says, it's about art, creativity. And she is hoping the brand's new campaign gets that point across.
Mothers of young children are spending far more time with social media than just three years ago. And most claim that as their personal time diminishes after becoming moms, they end up sacrificing time spent with magazines and newspapers.
If a marketer asked people to hand over a list of all their friends so it could show them ads, few would comply. On social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, though, friendships are obvious, and advertisers are beginning to examine those connections.
As Edelman Chicago's senior VP for consumer brands social media, Danielle Wiley's job is to establish and manage 2.0 digital practices and strategies for the agency. The mother of two came to Edelman's attention as a result of the Foodmomiac blog she launched in 2005. She now heads an in-house team of four that spends much of its time researching, recruiting and managing bloggers for various brands' marketing campaigns.
The heads of the top U.S. companies might be engaged in the boardroom, but they’re switched off when it comes to social media, according to a new study that said CEOs should be more connected to their customers. Research conducted by the blog UberCEO.com looked at Fortune’s 2009 list of the top 100 CEOs to determine how many were using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, or had a blog — and found they were mostly absent from the rapidly growing social media community. The study found only two CEOs had Twitter accounts and 81 percent of CEOs did not have a personal Facebook page.
As early as 2006, the phrase "Every company is a media company" began to appear in speeches, news stories and blog columns, presaging a paradigm shift in the way businesses of every stripe must communicate with their audiences in the Internet/social media age.
Welcome to the era of SoMo. Sure, online social media and social networking are popular, but they don't mimic the way we naturally interact. Why use Facebook or Twitter to tell friends what you are doing at the moment when you can directly show them what you are doing and where you are doing it?
This is the sad story of a company that died. Actually, it's more of a question of how it could have been saved. I'm talking about the now defunct FlyClear service run by a company called Verified Identity Pass that launched in nearly 20 airports across the country with a paid service that promised a way to avoid the travel lines at security with a dedicated "VIP" line. The reasons for their demise are relatively easy to understand ... as the number of travellers has reduced, the lines too have reduced and fewer people are seeing the value of paying $99 or more per year to access these special lanes.
Given that Generation Y is often pegged as narcissistic, lazy, having high expectations, craving the limelight, and other such flattering characterizations, one might expect we'd be Twittering as if it were breathing. After all, Twitter is known as a place where people expose the most minute details of their lives--missing the bus, stubbing a toe, toasting an English muffin.
Larry Page should have been in a good mood. It was the fall of 2007, and Google's cofounder was in the middle of a five-day tour of his company's European operations in Zurich, London, Oxford, and Dublin. The trip had been fun, a chance to get a ground-floor look at Google's ever-expanding empire. But this week had been particularly exciting, for reasons that had nothing to do with Europe; Google was planning a major investment in Facebook, the hottest new company in Silicon Valley. Originally Google had considered acquiring Facebook—a prospect that held no interest for Facebook's executives—but an investment was another enticing option, aligning the Internet's two most important companies. Facebook was more than a fast-growing social network. It was, potentially, an enormous source of personal data.
At the excellent MarketingProfs B2B Forum a couple of weeks back, I had the pleasure of attending “Marketing 2.0: Integrating Social Media into Your Marketing Mix” a session hosted by IBM’s Sandy Carter. Carter’s presentation offered a variety of valuable social media insights and strategies on three interesting projects at IBM. The lessons learned from one case study in particular stuck out as worth sharing.
For one of the Web’s biggest sites, there’s a lot that needs fixing over at MySpace. Buyers and analysts have varying ideas on just what News Corp. should do with its ailing social net, ranging from the philosophical (decide who you are) to the logistical (cut down the clutter). But no one doubts that change is needed, and is coming soon.
Now that the refrains of "Twitter Revolution" and "the first uprising powered by social media" are fading into the distant memory that is 24 hours ago, we can start debating what impact, if any, it had (or is still having) on events in Iran. Social movements are, well, social, by their very definition; people have been agitating and acting together since the platform tools to do so were quill pens, inkwells, and whispering in one another's ears. Nothing new there. So the first question to ask is whether new media changed the conduct or outcomes of the social event itself (i.e. in Iran). I'm not sure it did.
Marketers can take full advantage of Gen Y's unique situation in the workforce. Members of this demographic can add value to their companies by being corporate citizens and brand ambassadors. They are marketing tools that can be leveraged by their own marketing organizations to reach customers, prospects, the press and various other stakeholders. As long as they maintain a positive reputation, their companies will benefit, and they will have better careers as a result.
Facebook's targeted advertising program is "materially different from behavioral targeting as it is usually discussed," Chris Kelly, the social network's chief privacy officer, said in remarks prepared for a Thursday morning hearing before two House subcommittees.
At the risk of being branded a heretic or perhaps just being shown the door by my agency HR director, I have to say it: I hate social media. Why? Because it's just media. And since when was media ever interesting?
Since Facebook started giving out customized Web addresses like facebook.com/yourname last Friday, some 9.5 million people have rushed to grab their top choice. On Twitter, public fights have broken out over so-called impostor accounts, like those that should probably be in the hands of Kanye West or Bank of America.
When Liz Claiborne relaunched its brand this year, 300 or so female consumers informed its marketing decision. Such insights weren't culled from focus groups, but were pulled from online communications. Working with Communispace, Liz Claiborne execs considered the panel of 300 to be a "focus group on steroids" and were pleased with the results.
Facebook is testing a realtime search engine for users’ news feeds that will challenge Twitter search, the company revealed on its blog today.
Online community and social media are hot areas for business these days, as companies recognize the Internet's potential to deepen customer relationships, share knowledge and strengthen teams. In the nonprofit sector, relationships have always been the key currency: the relationships with the members, donors and supporters that NGOs depend on for volunteer labor, financial support and advocacy muscle.
In A Simple Presence Framework, I gave you a potential set of steps for building a platform (or a collection of sites and software to use) to carry your online presence. In Make Presence Management Work for You, we’ll show you some thoughts on how to use it. This is written from the perspective of managing an individual’s presence needs, but you’ll see where the corresponding points for a business would be, as well.
Let’s start with what we know about media habits, structural changes in advertising practices, and advertising effectiveness.
One of the key findings from the very popular report The Future of the Social Web (which has been translated into over a dozen languages by the community) is that identity technologies like Facebook Connect, OpenID, as well as existing identities will soon colonize the web, making every webpage a social experience –even if they don’t choose to participate.
Digital media and branded content largely have been seen as strategies for mature markets where TV advertising faces its greatest threats from media fragmentation and DVRs. But Unilever has found that such programs work in India and China as well as the U.S., and is making them increasingly common in global campaigns, even in developing markets.
I miss the good ol' days of global brand strategy. It used to be so simple: Develop a single, absolute definition of your brand, then produce content -- mostly TV spots and print -- that was generic enough for local voice-over talent to translate, perhaps augmented with an image or two for local color. What was important was that those absolutes of brand were constant; the delivery component was tactical. "Think global, act local" was the mantra we stole from the world's do-gooders in the 1970s, and it was supposed to save money on production costs while ensuring consistent delivery of our messaging.
Gaining the awareness, the attention, and ultimately the trust of a community online is a challenge many people are working to accomplish. Whether for your own personal interests or for a business-related use, we look to build relationships using these tools so that we can have conversations with the right people. But where should you start? What comprises a good methodology for using the platform? What’s the proper etiquette. Here are some starter moves to consider when building a presence framework for business communications purposes.
Social media is starting to take hold with brands, companies and organizations everywhere. While there are still stragglers, and it is probably incorrect to say most companies are getting with the program, a good number of them are. What we’re seeing in these organizations is a maturation process. Brands are done testing the waters, playing with the tools and saying, “We Gotta Facebook Page!” like it’s the corporate equivalent of an iPhone or Kindle. Companies are now approaching social media with communications strategies in mind — How can we effectively use these social tools to reach our audiences?
As a marketing and communications professional, I stress simple, straightforward language in my work, and I’m always watching for the evolving lexicon of the market. Two words that have been showing up all over the blogosphere, Web and in print like they’re on sale are authenticity and authority. After reading scores of bogs and articles featuring one or both words, it struck me there were two schools of thought among web experts, bloggers and marketers about which was more important, or which begat the other.
Social media is everywhere and for a lot of businesses they approach it likes it’s the magic wand that’s going to be the savior to their business. When you begin to talk to them, usually the conversation starts like this. “Can you help us with that Twitter thing and that Facebook thing, not to mention it’s vital if you can produce for us one of those viral videos. Second, this has to help our business look hip and cool and last but not least, we don’t have the time to really be involved in any conversations.” The other component that comes out in this conversation isn’t just what they want, but also what they don’t want. I’m still amazed when I hear the fear factor about the potential of negative comments being made about their brand or products. Which I wonder, if it’s really fear about negativity or it’s fear of being in a conversational space and having to deal with negative feedback.
Samsung, for the release of a new phone with a built-in high-def camera, made a YouTube video that tricked the eyes of the people who watched it and encouraged viewers to figure out how the trick was done. The video was filmed using the phone to follow the narrator around his apartment where he describes the camera’s high-def features, suggesting there will be subtle clues in the video that will be noticeable because of the picture quality.
What are the hottest business trends in social media? Gaming and virtual payments are among the fastest-growing segments, according to social media experts gathered at the Advertising 2.0 conference Wednesday in New York.
Everyone asks me, "Now that I'm getting a better idea of what social media is, How do I actually apply it? Where do I start?" Start with these, The Five P's of Social Media. The Five P's are: Profiles, Propagate, Produce, Participate, and Progress.
Social marketing gives us that giddy combination of exciting and terrifying. Makes your heart thump. Some people think that email marketing by comparison is old-school and boring. I say there is nothing sexier than the high revenue and ROI from the email channel.
Faced with consumers cutting back on purchases and stiff competition from McDonald’s McCafe, Starbucks today (Wednesday) launched an ad campaign touting its newly earned accolade in Zagat’s 2009 Fast Food survey: “No. 1 Best Coffee.”
If you haven't been living under a rock lately, you've probably heard a lot about Twitter, the free micro-blogging utility that allows members to share short messages, or tweets. Twitter has suddenly become the digital arena for people to observe and engage in pop culture. Demi Moore saves lives on her Twitter page, and Lindsay Lohan publicly breaks up with significant others on hers. It's also a place where brands can interact with consumers directly, to either reinforce strong relationships with their loyal bases or attract new followings.
The ultimate emblem of how social media has seeped into mainstream marketing may be Kentucky Fried Chicken's use of MySpace to find the face of its newest product. The company is looking for a doppelganger of Colonel Sanders, or someone who can demonstrate other reasons that s/he should be tapped to serve as the face of the new Kentucky Grilled Chicken (KGC).
While the mainstream press, and most digital marketing firms, are convinced that social media are changing the consciousness and habits of humanity, I've chanced upon two studies that suggest otherwise.
It should come as no surprise that the entire sports world is reaching out to fans with social media tools. But just how engaged are these groups with the latest in communications technology? Because the National Basketball Association (NBA) is in the thick of its playoffs, we’ll use them as a guinea pig.
Social media and the explosion of (potential) digital destinations has bubbled up the question about content.
There’s been a hell of a lot of chat recently about exactly how you can make money through social media. So far, the only ones cashing in have been the founding principals when they sell off a fraction of their site to a traditional media company, which immediately gives them an insane valuation in the billions. Right now the situation smacks of the late nineties, dot com “Field of dreams” model. The one that said if you build it they will come, then we’ll start making dumpster loads of money by selling lots and lots of really shitty and intrusive advertising on the site. It didn’t work ten years ago and billions of dollars worth of VC money went down the rancid tubes of hundreds of short lived Silicon Valley start-ups.
In the brief history of Web sites, there are few if any second chances. Remember Friendster? That's why it's difficult for some industry observers to see a comeback for MySpace, the large online social network that has seen its popularity flatline and its hipness surpassed by younger sites like Twitter and Facebook in recent months.
Could proposed sweeping changes in Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines shipwreck social media marketing and alter the common practice of using third-party spokespeople to deliver brand messages?
Modern Public Relations was born in the early 1900s, although history traces the its roots and origins of practice back to the 17th century. Two years ago, the press release celebrated its 100-year anniversary. While the communications industry has iterated with every new technological advancement over the last century, including broadcast mediums and Web 1.0, none however, have forced complete transparency prior to the proliferation of the Read/Write Web aka The Social Web aka Web 2.0.
I’ve noticed more and more folks taking shots at the value of social media. For example there’s Beware of Social Media Marketing Myths from Gene Marks in Business Week. It’s a natural evolution, I suppose, since social media has pretty much been hyped as the way to riches, better looks, and total self-actualization. I mean, this weekend my local paper had articles on twitter in three different sections, including sports. I get it, I’m tired of the hype too.
The first quarter of 2009 will be remembered for many things, mostly bad. But it may also mark a turning point when the world's biggest marketer and its broader industry finally got serious about digital media.
This week I was asked to talk to the Marketing Directors Network in London about how organizations are using Twitter. We’ve written before about how celebrities are using Twitter and how organizations are using Twitter as an engagement tool. In both cases, perhaps the best advice is just to try using Twitter and to see what happens.
Considering the magazine-heavy resume of The Daily Beast founder Tina Brown, it stands to reason the Web publisher would take her cues from that world. But rather than adopt the banner, the most magazine-like Internet ad format, the IAC-owned Daily Beast has sworn off "traditional" Web ads in favor of custom executions.
In January 2009 I pondered whether or not Twitter was a viable conversation platform. After all, Twitter is one of the darlings of Social Media and it is conversations and the democratization of content that fuel the rapid expansion and adoption of social tools and services.
Mainstream media is in an orgiastic frenzy of coverage about Twitter. Everyone's Tweeting, from celebrities to CEOs according to CNN, The View, Today, the NY Times, the Wall St Journal and just about everyone else. Each of them covers Twitter like it's an overnight phenomenon that came out of nowhere, although Twitter has been gaining traction for three years and now has 14 million members. Should your company be on Twitter? Not necessarily.
I thought Twitter hype had reached a fever pitch with the big Oprah appearance. Boy, was I ever wrong.
For all the work marketers do reaching out to bloggers, social networks and other online outlets where they might get some word-of-mouth buzz, consumers are still looking to trusted friends and relatives for product or service recommendations.