TAG | word-of-mouth

2013 Rock Hall Of Fame Ceremony Recap

rock hall media needle

The 2013 @Rock_Hall induction ceremony was a star-studded event celebrating this year’s inductees, Albert King, Randy Newman, Lou Adler, Quincy Jones, Public Enemy, Donna Summer, Heart and crowd favorite Rush.  Artists become eligible for entry to the Hall 25 years after the release of their first album, typically only voted on by members however this year they actually allowed the public to cast its vote (http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/vote-for-the-2013-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-inductees-20121004).

As always, @PaulShaffer did a stellar job putting together an all-star house band. To open the night, @TomPetty, Jackson Browne @SongsofJBrowne and @John_Fogerty jammed the @RandyNewman hit “I love L.A.” And Don Henley gave a good intro to induct Newman, who was a cool curmudgeon about getting into the fraternity.

Lou Adler, owner of the famous Roxy Theatre @TheRoxy has had a long and influential career in music, producing such acts as Sam Cooke, the Mamas & the Papas and Carole King. He also produced the first Monterey Pop Festival, where artists like Jimi Hendrix and The Who got early US notoriety. Adler is an avid @Lakers fan, so his buddy Jack Nicholson was there to support the cause. @CheechandChong gave a proper stoner introduction, and @Carole­­King sang “So Far Away”—she’s still got it!

Another fantastic act was @GaryClarkJr and John Mayer performing “Born Under a Bad Sign.” @JohnMayer gave a great tribute to induct blues guitar legend Albert King, whose daughter and granddaughter accepted on his behalf.

@KellyRowland delivered a tribute fit for the late disco queen, Donna Summer (@TheDonnaSummer) along with a touching speech given by Summer’s husband.

All followed by an impressive performance by Jennifer Hudson @IAMJHUD, who rocked the crowd out to “Bad Girls” and “Save The Last Dance.”

@QuincyDJones, who is now 80 and has almost as many Grammy nominations, as he has years, 79 showed his age a bit but was still hip and quick witted when he shared his personal influences and discussed how music shaped his life. @Oprah introduced him, and @Usher killed with a great rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Rock with You.”

@SpikeLee and @HarryBelafonte presented the award to @PublicEnemyFTP. Harry looked great and seemly heckled Quincy for grabbing a pole for walking assistance as Harry himself walked with a cane. Flava Flav rambled for way too long, making little to no sense, while @MrChuckD waited patiently for his turn to share his thoughts. A great jam session of “Fight the Power” and “Bring the Noise” brought the house down!

Heart @OfficialHeart was inducted by fellow Seattle rocker @ChrisCornell. They played “Barracuda” with Jerry Cantrell of @AliceinChains and Mike McCready from @PearlJam.

The main event was indeed the long overdue induction of Rush @RushTheBand, who received great intro praise from @FooFighters, Dave Grohl and Hawkins. The trio then played amazing versions of “Tom Sawyer” and “The Spirit of Radio”.

Dave Grohl, Tom Morello, John Fogerty, Gary Clark Jr., Heart, Chris Cornell, Rush, Chuck D and Public Enemy among others were all rockin the Clapton version of “Crossroads” to complete the night.

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It was a great night overall in L.A. Those of you who haven’t been to the actual @Rock_Hall in Cleveland should check it out – it’s worth it for the cool I.M. Pei-designed building alone. The ceremony event will air on @HBO May 18, 2013.


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Social Media & The World

Social media is affecting the world in big ways, both good and bad. Just a few years ago, news didn’t travel as quickly as it now does through Twitter, Facebook, news aggregators, etc. Positively, this means we have access to world news in a matter of seconds, and we no longer have to wait for the evening news to catch up on daily occurrences (see: social media’s role in Egypt’s 2011 Revolution). Negatively, especially for those in the public eye, this means that nothing goes unreported, even private pictures sent through a site like Twitter (see: Anthony Weiner). We take a look at some ways social media is affecting the way we look at religion, sports and politics:

Religion: The Catholic Church has joined Facebook and Twitter. In June, The Vatican announced the launch of a social media-integrated official news website, news.va, that will make heavy use of social networks. Pope Benedict XVI himself sent out the first papal tweet. News.va will function essentially as a Vatican and Catholic Church-related news aggregator, republishing stories from L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican Radio, Vatican Television, the Fides news agency and from Vatican media relations. Livestreaming of Papal events will also be featured, along with links to homilies, statements, and speeches. Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese-language versions of the site will be launched over the next few months. Users will also be able to post links on Twitter and share stories on their Facebook walls.

Sports: The International Olympic Committee has issued rules for athletes using social media at the 2012 London Games. The athletes are encouraged to “post, blog and tweet their experiences,” but forbidden from using Twitter, Facebook or personal blogs for commercial or advertising purposes or to share videos filmed at Olympics venues. If the rules are broken, athletes are warned that it can withdraw accreditation, shut down online operations and start legal action for damages. These new social media rules come after some controversy at the 2010 Vancouver games, where US skier Julia Mancuso was asked to stop online merchandise sales after her silver medal-winning performances generated interest in her official website. Some of the other social media stipulations for London? Posts, blogs, etc. should be in first-person, should not contain vulgar or obscene words or images, and should not reveal confidential information. “Unlike in Vancouver, where the rules were adapted to fit changed circumstances, the rules in force in London have been properly codified,” the IOC said.

Politics: In mid-June, Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., resigned from Congress in the wake of a sexting scandal. The move, which abruptly put an end to Weiner’s on-the-rise political career, serves as a warning to politicians and lawmakers about dealing with the social media world. To recap:  Reports indicated that a college student had received a sexually suggestive photo from Weiner’s Twitter account. Weiner denied sending it, saying the account had been hacked, but as more texts and photos of the congressman surfaced, Weiner finally admitted that he’d sent the photo. The story picked up and more revelations surfaced, including messages to a 17-year-old Delaware girl. Ultimately, Weiner sought a leave of absence and said he’d seek treatment. While Weiner isn’t the first politician to deal with a sex scandal, the incident reverberates as politicians grapple with the new world of social media. It should serve as a “serious warning sign to politicians,” said Steven Schier, a professor of political science at Carleton College in Minnesota, that that they need to be careful. “They send out this stuff unfiltered, so the risk is increased considerably,” Schier said.

In what other ways is social media changing the world? Tell us in the comments!



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Social Media Whets Appetites for Pop-Up Restaurants

Are you in a restaurant rut? Hungry, but not sure where to go? Often, hitting the old neighborhood standby, with its familiar menu—maybe even a waiter who knows your name—can be the path of least resistance.

But on occasion, a bit of experimentation is in order, and it can be well worth the effort. The best laboratories in the food world right now are pop-up restaurants, in which a well-known chef takes over someone else’s kitchen for a temporary run.

Unfettered of the responsibilities of managing overhead costs or assembling a permanent menu that covers all dietary bases, pop-up chefs let their imaginations run wild. When was the last time you had teriyaki rabbit meatballs with foie gras and yuzu? That was on a recent dinner menu at a pop-up in Los Angeles, in which a French chef took over the kitchen of a casual Asian lunch spot.

So, how does one find out about these fleeting eateries? Social media, of course. Like gourmet food trucks—which rely on food blogs, Twitter, and Facebook to spread word of their ever-changing locations in real time—pop-ups use social media networking as their principal, and often only, marketing vehicle. According to a National Restaurant Association spokesperson, the time-sensitive nature and “experimental aspect” of pop-ups make them particularly ripe for promotion via the blogosphere. And it seems to be working: The trade group has named pop-ups and food trucks as the biggest expected industry trend for 2011.

Indeed, social media are largely responsible for pushing the pop-up concept from the exclusive realm of in-the-know foodies to the mainstream. The Sundance Channel even has a new TV show about pop-ups, “Ludo Bites America.” Now, hardcore foodies are trying to come up with new dining experiences reserved for only the most plugged-in-events such as a “flash mob”-style gourmet dinner served on the New York subway, or a Manhattan version of Paris’ ultra-exclusive Dîner en Blanc, planned for a secret location in August. Will these gourmands succeed in excluding the hungry hoi polloi from their hush-hush “underground” meals? As we know, all it takes is one innocent little Tweet, and the word is out….

Check out more on the business of pop-up restaurants here.


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Social Media Agencies

Since we’ve recently highlighted a few of our favorite social media case studies, this week we thought we’d bring attention to some top social media agencies and what they are doing. These are the agencies that are setting the bar high and implementing innovative social media marketing.

There are many types of social media companies; some are research focused, some feature a team of app developers, some are extending and developing upon tradition PR. The best social media agencies combine these skills and help companies extend their brands through training, long term strategy, and execution.

Mullen is a full-service modern advertising agency, with clients ranging from Fage Greek yogurt to the Department of Defense. National brands like Zappos, Olympus and Jet Blue have turned to Mullen for campaigns; last year, the social-media savvy JetBlue chose Mullen as its lead advertising and marketing agency.  The You Above All campaign  featured a full mix of media including online, social media, in-flight, print, and out-of-home components. For the social media portion of their campaign, the agency created a series of hidden camera scenarios called Ground Rules. The unscripted videos poke fun at other airlines’ service policies  by featuring real people in being deprived of things they’ve come to expect, such as legroom in a taxi and a full can of soda from a street vendor. The videos were primarily shown through a YouTube homepage takeover.

Ignite is a social media agency completely and exclusively focused on social media marketing. As opposed to PR and marketing firms that offer elements of social media marketing (like Mullen), Ignite’s team of tech, creative, account, and strategy professionals form a complete social media company, solely dedicated to the interactive and social media markets. Their work for Bing is one example of their success in the social media market.  Bing wanted a tab on their Facebook Page that would showcase the variety of what Bing Travel has to offer its fans. Ignite created a tab with a standardized background to tie all of the individual pieces together; each individual section engages the fan in a different aspect of Bing Travel. Fans can also share Bing Travel elements on other social networks, by retweeting Did You Know facts on Twitter, for example.

Crispin Porter & Bogusky, an advertising agency based out of Miami, is known mostly for viral marketing techniques. Their Subservient Chicken campaign for Burger King was created to promote the chain’s TenderCrisp chicken sandwich and the “Have it Your Way” campaign.  Crispin created the “The Subservient Chicken” web page, on which a “chicken” performs actions based on user input, showing pre-recorded footage and appearing like an interactive webcam. The site is meant to capitalize on the slogan: “Get chicken just the way you like it”.

Have you come across any social media agencies doing some truly innovative work? Let us know in the comments!


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Social Media in Unusual Places

This week, we take a look at a few more cool social media case studies and the success certain brands have seen from their efforts. While in the past, social media campaigns were best used by marketing giants like Coca-Cola and Burberry, today social media is present in many industries, including healthcare, real estate and even credit card companies. Here are a few of our favorites unexpected uses of social media:

Mall of America: Lisa Grimm, digital public relations specialist for the Mall of America in Minnesota, recently shared the success of one of the Mall’s most triumphant campaigns. Since the most difficult time to park at the mall is during Christmas week, the Mall of America team decided to take advantage of this increase in activity to boost their social media following. The team decided to actually auction off parking spaces in the front row of the mall’s lot, but only to their social media followers. By using the parking event’s hashtag on Twitter, followers were entered into the auction. The campaign was a success: The Mall’s Twitter following increased by 11% and the campaign was covered by Forbes, among other news outlets. This campaign is just one example of the far-reaching grasp of social media.

Century 21 Real Estate: Century 21, a leader in real estate, recently revealed that QR codes will be available on Century 21 signs. These custom bar codes can be scanned on a smartphone and will direct you to specific information, such as a real estate listing.

American Express: American Express has been heavily targeting small business in the US for the past few months. One feature of their campaign is the American Express OPEN and Facebook collaboration called Big Break for Small Business.  The national contest was designed to help transform the way small businesses use Facebook, and of course, to publicize American Express as the leader for small business use. Business owners could enter to win an all-expense paid trip to Facebook headquarters for a two-day “boot camp” and a US $20,000 cash prize by submitting responses to a short questionnaire. Over 10,000 businesses entered to win their “big break,” and on July 5th the five finalists will be subject to a public vote. Read an interview with Rosa Alfonso of of the American Express Open program here.

The No Kids Hungry Pledge: Share our Strength, a non-profit organization, is working through their Facebook page to help end childhood hunger. On their custom welcome page, they ask you to take a pledge and help end childhood hunger by 2015. Once you sign up by providing your email and zip code, you receive an email asking you to help spread the word by way of social status updates (templated Facebook and Twitter posts) or via email. Note, they don’t ask for money or for you to volunteer your time. In doing so, Share our Strength is building their email database while gaining trust from their new fans.

Have you seen any cool uses of social media in the past few months? Share with us in the comments section!


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A successful Facebook promotion does more than get “liked” by fans. It is a powerful way to generate buzz, to engage existing fans and boost  fan count, to spark the interest of potential clients; ultimately, it is a way to grow your brand.

The most triumphant Facebook contests/promotions have a few characteristics in common:

  • Organization: In today’s social media- savvy world, just posting your contest on your Facebook wall and hoping for the best won’t get you very far. Approach your Facebook contest as you would a traditional media campaign. Have a plan of attack ready from the start: How many entries would you like, ideally? Or the flip side: If you get only five entries, will you be prepared to shut the contest down? In other words, what is your minimum and what is your maximum? If you spend $100 on a contest app and promotion, will you be happy with 20 new fans? 50? It takes work to maintain a Facebook contest; on the upside, you could gain hundreds of new fans and expand your company, but on the downside, you could seriously alienate your existing fans with poor response time and sloppy organization.
  • Prize: The easiest way to figure out what to give away? Poll your existing audience and ask them what prize justifies contest entry. This is free, and you’ll get, if nothing else, inspiration. Ultimately, you’ll want to give away something that you’d be excited to receive yourself. Brainstorm with your team, with friends, with family, and ask: What prize would be worth what we are asking you to do? No one is going to submit a video or a post a picture in order to win an outdated electronic or a sub-par food product.
  • Promotion: Since social media doesn’t usually rely on press releases, think of other ways to get the word out. Email bloggers, tweet about your contest, place a link on your actual website. Actively promoting your contest on a daily basis is necessary, but you have to think past garnering the attention of your current followers, because you want new ones. Approach large Facebook pages that are similar to yours to set up a sort of promotional exchange. Ask friends to contact their networks.

Some of the greatest Facebook promotions have taken all these steps and more:

Facebook giant Red Bull, with over 18 million fans, often features fun contests. In 2010, their “Create the Next Red Bull Commercial” Contest excited both techies and non-techies alike. Entries could be sent by story board, video clip, hand drawn illustrations or a conventional script.

Discovery Adventures, a subsidiary of the Discovery Channel, is currently running a contest that is geared to increase its current 4,303 likes by…a lot. Fans can enter to win a trip to Italy for two, including airfare, sponsored by Pompeii the Exhibit. Clearly, Discovery has found a model that works for them and is sticking to it; their Italy contest mirrors their last contest, called Win a Trip to Egypt, featuring a 9 day Egyptian archeological adventure for two. Facebook contest rule #4394390- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Conan O’Brien’s Facebook Page currently features his F*Cards promotion. “Sometimes it’s hard to compose just the right status update or wall post for those uniquely Facebook moments,” the app explains. “So why not let Conan O’Brien do your Facetalkin’ for you with F-Cards? Huh? How? Watch this video and let Conan explain…” In under a minute, I’m intrigued and I’m amused. It’s fun and while there is no prize, this is promotion at its best: Conan is engaging his fans, who will most likely link to him on their own pages and give him free publicity.

While these big-brand Facebook contests & promotions have been wildly successful, when creating your own, make sure to read the fine print.

In the past few years, Facebook has changed the rules regarding contests quite a few times, mostly recently in November 2010. The most notable rule is this one: You MUST use an app to conduct a contest or risk facing the wrath of Facebook. Ultimately, while a Facebook contest or promotion requires hard work to succeed, the payoff of a well-executed campaign is well worth it.


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Mike Volpe Talks ROI

This week, we continue our interview series by speaking to Mike Volpe, Chief Marketing Officer at HubSpot, a marketing software company. Volpe leads the company’s lead generation and branding strategy through inbound marketing and under his leadership, HubSpot’s marketing has won more than 30 awards and been featured in over 20 marketing and business books.  Volpe also co-hosts the weekly marketing podcast HubSpot TV, blogs frequently and is very active in social media and as a marketing speaker.

What are your thoughts about the ROI of social media? Two things: First, the ROI is huge. There has been a big transformation in what marketing is effective today. You used to be able to just tell people what to think of you in advertisements and sell to them with cold calls. Now consumers have all sorts of ways of blocking that outbound marketing. You need to attract people using inbound marketing, making it easy for them to find you in blogs, search engines and social media. So, as part of an inbound marketing strategy, social media can be a great and valuable tool.

Second, I am not sure why everyone is holding social media to such a precise and exactly measured ROI when marketers have done all sorts of things for decades that did not have a great measurable ROI.  Sure, you can measure the ROI of social media pretty well, but why hold it to a higher standard than print ads or events?

Are marketers that promise ROI setting expectations that cannot be delivered solely by social measures? Maybe, but it is not because of ROI they promise. The reason that is a mistake is that social media is actually not all that helpful or effective on its own. Social media is just a technology like the phone or email.  Using it alone is not useful or effective.  You need to have something useful, valuable and interesting to talk about in social media and a way to convert those social media connections into leads and sales. So anyone that says they can use social media alone to deliver ROI might not have a great strategy and might be misguided.

Is there a difference between ROI or “impact”? If so, is one more important? No difference in my mind.  The R in ROI is the impact that your activity had. Technically ROI also compares the impact to the cost or investment, so maybe there is a little difference, but the concept is the same.

Does a consultant or agency need an ROI mindset when they work with a client?  If so, how do you find out? Yes. Marketing today is measurable, and all good marketers measure what they do.  I think clients should demand ROI and reports from all of their vendors.  It often makes sense for the client to use their own analytics to measure what their consultants or agencies are doing, so they have an unbiased view.  Smart marketers and companies take an active role in their marketing, and if you do outsource some of it, you are the ones who manage it, set the goals, and measure it.

Read more about Mike Volpe at his website.


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Rick Bakas Talks ROI

This week, we begin our series of interviews with social media superstars. First up is author, certified Sommelier and brand strategist Rick Bakas, of Bakas Media in San Francisco. As the first Director of Social Media in the wine industry, Bakas has influenced new ideas and new concepts that connect wineries to new consumers through tweet-up tours and global online wine tastings.  He specializes in translating personal and corporate brands to new media. This year, Bakas will be traveling the world educating businesses on how to build their brands online, stopping in cities including NY, London, Mexico, Sydney, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Munich and Napa, and speaking at the Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco.

We asked him about social media ROI, impact and more:


What are your thoughts about the ROI of social media? In my opinion, “Return on Investment” is an outdated term based on the old way of doing things.  New Media is just that—it’s new, which means we need to redefine what “return” looks like.  The return we get in this new world takes on a new form we haven’t seen before.

I like to refer to it as ROA, or Return on Attention because the real magic happens when we’re able to get someone’s attention online and convert that attention into action.  We’re increasingly overwhelmed with more technology and are bombarded daily with emails, text messages, tweets, blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook posts and all the other stuff in addition to the overstimulation from traditional media.  We’re spending more time online than watching television so that’s where people’s attention is.

Going forward, savvy marketers will be able to nurture a healthy relationship online, so that at any given moment they can get someone’s attention no matter what channel they’re sending the message through.  The true value is getting that mind share, even if for a moment and affecting a behavior such as a purchase.  Where traditional media and new media share a commonality is Reach.  In traditional media you pay for someone else’s reach for impressions.  With new media you can create your own reach.

Are marketers that promise ROI setting expectations that cannot be delivered solely by social measures? Yes.  In the previous answer I mentioned “return” taking on a new form we haven’t seen before.  There’s a new factor in determining “return” called Time.  Time is a multiplier now because digital content lives for a longer time. One single YouTube video could influence someone’s behavior in 2011 or 2016.

Marketers who promise anything related to social media are probably desperately trying to position themselves as experts out of a survival instinct, and are telling clients what they need to hear.  No one can control digital content over time, nor can they guarantee how much attention they’ll be able to capture online.

Is there a difference between ROI or “impact”? If so, is one more important? Return on Investment, or as I call it Return on Attention, shares something in common with Impact.  It comes down to Reach.

The number of impressions has a direct correlation to affecting someone’s behavior.  In traditional media you rely on someone else’s reach like magazine readership or television viewers.  In new media you can create your own reach.  Either way you’re going for impact from impressions.  The real magic happens when you leverage both at the same time.

Does a consultant or agency need an ROI mindset when they work with a client?  If so, how do you find out? A consultant needs to have their client’s interest in mind.  And because their client is most likely a business, then yes, working towards ROA should be the driving force.

When we work with client partners, we turn their sales funnel into an hourglass.  We all know the sales funnel is about getting people to an action like a purchase, but the real beauty of new media adds a second half of the equation to the mix.

Ultimately, each client partner is going to have different objectives, so it’s good to start with their endgame and work backwards to build in the systems needed to accomplish the result.

For more information on Rick Bakas, head to his website.


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The Opposite of Success

In our last blog, we discussed social media success stories and what it takes to run a successful social media campaign. For every great social media campaign, however, there are multiple failures. Whether this is due to poor use of assets, a marketing screw up, misuse of celebrity or a lack of fan interaction, we can learn as much from these disappointments as we can from the well-executed promotions.

This year’s Academy Awards made well documented use of social media; specifically, host James Franco joined Twitter in early February and was a pro-tweeter by the time the show went live. He live-tweeted behind-the-scenes moments that let viewers feel like celebrities, and he took a video while walking out on stage and then streamed it to his fans. Twitter peaked just after the Oscars’ open with approximately 10,000 tweets/minute— 1.8 million overall. This was social media at its best.

At its worst? This is 2011, and the only way the actual awards show integrated social media was through James Franco. Most of the effort was made by him, and while his tweets and backstage glimpses were fun and successful, imagine the difference that would have been made if this had been incorporated by the Academy itself.

Another social media flop: Fashion brand Cheap Monday has a plethora of social media assets, but only a few of them appear to be functioning. Tip: If you’re going to offer your fans social media outlets to explore, make sure they work. No one wants to check out pre-written tweets that consist of only a URL, or blindly search for a Facebook page that is named something different than your brand (in this case, the brand is “Cheap Monday” and the page is under “Cheap Mondays.” This difference may seem negligible, but under a Facebook search, this could be detrimental).

Although dated, Ad Age described a classic social media fail: The Chevy Tahoe  campaign of 2006, run by GM. The campaign was meant to tie in to the television show The Apprentice, and it allowed regular folks at home to create their own Chevy Tahoe ads. The higher-ups at the company failed to anticipate the negative reaction they’d receive to their gas-guzzling car at a time of climbing oil prices and the war in Iraq. They were met with harsh language and unbridled anger, and while GM denied their social media fail, the company went into bankruptcy a few years later.

Among some of last year’s losing social media moves were: Starbucks’ social media nightmare in Hungary, Dr. Pepper’s status-takeover campaign on Facebook , Kenneth Cole’s off-color remarks about Egypt , and CVS_Cares’ locked twitter account  More snafus here.

In the world of social media, especially since internet users are more savvy and aware than ever before, every move is noticed and scrutinized. Here are some ways to avoid making some of these gaffes:

  1. Adapt to your social media environment: Take Twitter for example. Don’t over-intellectualize; you have 140 characters, so get to the point with short words and great content.
  2. Understand ROI: The more you pay, the better the…payoff will be. Yes, you will have to pay for marketing even in social media; get rid of the mindset that all social media marketing is free marketing.
  3. Engage with your audience: These are the people who will make your campaign a success or a failure, and you have the chance to interact with them, to answer their questions, to ask them for feedback. Make use of that.
  4. Get Formal: Social media is less formal than traditional media in some aspects, but that does not mean this isn’t still business. Treat your social media assets professionally.
  5. Get Exciting: Bland social media is the worst; you will depress your audience and lose them. Plan ahead, hire a dynamic community manager and make an effort.

More moves to avoid here. And remember, without failure, success wouldn’t shine so brightly.


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Social Media Success Stories

The most successful social media campaigns have had certain characteristics in common. Whether the campaign has been centered on the launch of a big brand’s newest product, or simply consists of the revival of a decades-old favorite, success cannot be attained if all the brand has to offer is… its product. Durability comes from other factors, including personalization, discussion, novelty and buzz.

Personalization: Facebook capitalizes on the fact that its users are impulsive and restless. It’s just as easy to click on a link, a page, or a group as it is to close out of that tab and move on the next one. Therefore, in order for a brand to capture the attention of these most fickle of internet users, it must offer a personalized experience. The main difference between a traditional campaign and a social media campaign is the level of interaction the latter can offer users. Take, for example, IKEA’s wildly successful Facebook campaign in 2009.  The campaign used one of Facebook’s most popular features, tagging, to encourage people to tag themselves in photos of IKEA showrooms. The company offered users the chance to win tagged items for free, and as word of the campaign spread, photos were tagged within seconds of being uploaded. Without the store rolling out a costly campaign, their products were personally promoted by their audience. People also felt a personal connection to the brand, picking and choosing pieces of furniture they would want in their own homes.

Discussion: Encouraging discussion on Facebook, or any other social network, is tricky, especially when the discussion is initially based on a single product. For the Wrigley’s Extra Facebook campaign, the Wrigley’s team took a different approach. Instead of focusing solely on the product at hand (gum), the page capitalized on the current “foodie” trend and prompted discussions about good food and eating. The page was created with the premise that strongly flavored food and drink, while one of life’s pleasures, are not necessarily things we wish to carry with us for the rest of the day on our breath. The message, then, doesn’t directly rely on the product itself, and is designed to continue conversation for as long as people eat and drink. Discussions on the Facebook page, which has more than 150,000 “Likes,” range from favorite Valentine’s Day food to the best pie flavor. Asking questions like, “Do real men eat quiche?” and “What do you reckon’s your CPM (chews per minute) rate?” provoke interesting, lively and continuous conversation that shouldn’t die down when buzz about the new gum does.

Novelty: Creating a social media campaign that draws a broad audience is tough when your product is a standard household item, like the toothbrush. It becomes even tougher when you’re trying to generate buzz for a new mini disposable toothbrush called The Wisp. In designing their social media campaign for this product, Colgate knew they’d have to think out of the box to generate any kind of attention. Hence, the brand took a fresh approach and came up with the “Be More Kissable” creative platform, which rerouted the issue at hand from dental hygiene to a topic that was more fun, social and sexy. At the heart of the campaign strategy were online videos, and a series of online videos were released that cinched into the comedy and how-to market. The brand also ran a photo contest, looking for “The Most Kissable Person in America,” and created a Facebook app called Spin the Wisp. Once the app was installed, it had the names of the consumer’s Facebook friends and provided them with an experience similar to Spin the Bottle. Ultimately, there were more than 100,000 engagements and 40,000 + installations of the widget and more than 1 million unique impressions of the widget. Overall, as of May, 2010, Big Fuel reported 6 million+ total engagements with the Wisp campaign (widget installs, video views, game plays, pass-alongs). The campaign succeeded not because it was led by a big brand, but because it took a fresh and new approach to something as stale as toothbrushes.

Buzz: Even with all of the components above, a social media campaign cannot be successful without buzz. Word-of-mouth gears social media; as an example, let’s discuss the buzz that the Red Cross accidentally generated a few weeks ago with an unintentional tweet. An employee with access to the @RedCross Twitter account had accidentally posted about their night of drinking Dogfish Head Midas Touch and tagged the message #gettngslizzerd. Within moments of the tweet going out, it was like a social media avalanche. While The Red Cross has about 270,000 followers subscribing to that account, hundreds of re-tweets and tweets about the post put that number well into the millions. Although the Red Cross later deleted the tweet and replaced it with one that read,“We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys,”  it didn’t stop this non-campaign from generating buzz. In fact, the Red Cross reports that the incident actually resulted in slight raise in donations and interest in giving blood. Everyone, including Beer brand Dogfish, has now blogged about the incident and it just goes to show- if an accidental tweet can generate this much buzz, how much attention can an intentional, well-played tweet get?

Ultimately, social media case studies allow us to look back and move forward more successfully. We can see the numbers and the views and decide for ourselves which brands were triumphant in what they did.


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