Browsing Tag


Social Media Strategy

Remember MySpace?

November 12, 2008

With all the hype around Facebook, it’s easy to forget that MySpace is still a major player in social networking.  I’ve written on this topic before, but I thought it might be good to have a quick refresher on the subject.  I ran across an article earlier that describes how Timberland launched a new initiative using MySpace to reach out to 18-34 men by aligning the brand with a popular ‘sports rapper’ – check out the article here.  I was particularly drawn to the quote about MySpace not getting the credit it deserves.  I share that sentiment and continue to encourage our clients to explore opportunities on MySpace.  Last month, we launched a MySpace program for Zoo Atlanta, and there has been an incredible amount of engagement just one month into the program.

Earlier this morning, I went onto the site to see if the new David Archuleta album was available on MySpace Music yet (yes, I admit it – I like the kid’s voice), and although the whole album is not available to stream on the site yet, what stuck out to me was the volume of comments on his MySpace page.  All of the visible comments are from today only and the page has over 45,000 comments total!  Granted, he almost won American Idol and his album came out yesterday, but the point is that there is still a huge contingent of people who are active MySpace users despite the explosive growth of Facebook.  This is especially true when music is factored into the equation.  I have yet to discover a new band on Facebook, but on MySpace it happens all the time.

Keep this in mind as you are planning your social media initiatives for 2009.  I wouldn’t leave any stone left unturned.  Some opportunities for engagement are just too important to pass up.

Social Media Strategy

Talking is not enough…

November 3, 2008

Neither is listening for that matter.  Marketers love to talk and Researchers love to listen.  We find all kinds of ways to say things in oh-so-perfect fashion and a zillion ways to quantify and qualify consumer behavior.  But guess what?  It’s not enough anymore.  We can no longer research consumer behavior and then come up with a brilliant, slick campaign to get people to buy from us and expect these to work on their own.  It’s just not enough anymore.  Of course, we must continue to do these things, but not in lieu of ENGAGING with our audience!  Engagement is the missing piece of the puzzle for many brands out there in the world.  Some of the most well-known and most respected brands are still not fully engaged with their consumers.  Why?

I think one of the biggest problems that we are facing in the Marketing world is the lack of commitment to true, ongoing engagement with consumers.  Many executives are hesitant to engage because they see it as a big commitment and one that can be a bit scary or uncontrollable.  But why are they scared?  Isn’t this exactly what they want?  Don’t we as Marketers want to establish that connection between our brands and our consumers?  It is not the goal to get the attention of our target consumers and encourage them to spread the word amongst their own spheres of influence?  Surely we should be embracing this and becoming part of the dialog as much as possible.

Maybe they think this is all just a passing phase.  Well guess what – things are not going to go back to the way they were.  Nope – we’ve come too far.  Consumer engagement is not a fad that will be a thing of the past in 2 years.  Technology has allowed information and opinions to spread at an incredible pace, and there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle.  Can you imagine online customer reviews being a thing of the past?  What about blogging – can you envision 3 years from now blogs being a joke?  Next year, could people decide that they no longer want to share videos and photos with each other online or connect with each other on social networks?  Of course not!  So what is stopping so many brands from doing what they need to do to fully engage their audience?

The PR departments of forward-thinking companies get it.  They know that they have to get down in the trenches with consumers and interact with them consistently.  Putting out releases is part of the equation, but instead of directing them specifically at media outlets, they must now be geared toward everyday consumers and bloggers who can run with the ball.  Instead of magazine editors or newspaper writers contacting them for information, consumers now expect this kind of access.  Denying them the ability to engage is as foolish as ignoring an author that wants to write a story about your brand in a respected publication.  Sending out information is only the first step – participation in the conversation that occurs as a result is the key to effectiveness.

Check out one of our clients who has recently embraced Social Media.  Zoo Atlanta took the first step by engaging on MySpace.  Less than a month into the program, there have been 2 big announcements that the Zoo has been discussing with its MySpace community.  Check out the blog entries and note the volume of comments in response.  This is a great example of how Social Media can work when you have people who are open to new ideas and are willing to dedicate the time to talk directly with their audience.  If a local non-profit organization can ‘get it’ and run with the ball, then other brands can too.  They just need the guidance to help find their way.

Social Media Strategy

Controlling your message?

July 18, 2007

I was reading an article on CNN today about political candidates losing control of their campaigns to YouTube.  It must really burn for old school politicians who are used to talking openly when the cameras weren’t rolling.  I can hear the voices in their heads now – ‘You mean I have to actually mean what I say all the time, and not just during an interview?’  Yep – that’s what it means.  It’s 2007, and the cameras are ALWAYS rolling!  There’s always someone with a camera phone or digital video camera just waiting to catch the right moment on video or in a photo.

So it is with brands also.  Many marketers think that they can ‘control the message’ by doing their own ‘viral campaigns’ on YouTube.  I’m talking about the clips that are created by the companies that they hope will spread throughout the internet.  This may work sometimes, but it’s by no means guaranteed!  I think the real opportunity is in becoming a real part of the culture so that consumers spread the word for you.  Yes, this means you have to actually be genuine with your offering and have an above average product or service.

It also means you need to have thick skin, because you never know when someone out there will disagree with your company’s position.  Herein lies the real opportunity!  If something negative gets posted about your brand or company, you have a chance to find out what some people are really thinking and do something about it if you so choose.  Does your offering need some work?  Maybe you’ll find out because of something that ends up on YouTube!  If you really want to ‘go there’, you can create a response video making fun of the one that talks about your company or brand.  Be cheeky!  Engage!  You can’t afford to sit on the sidelines, or get all defensive and whine about something that somebody said about you on the web.  That’s about as attractive as a 5th grader crying to his mommy because he got pushed on the playground.  Dust yourself off and get back on the jungle gym!  Everyone will respect you more for it.