notes on this coming....
Two of my favorite examples of companies using social media at the core of their digital marketing mix:
Long time favorite: Urban Outfitters
Website includes their YT videos and blog
Why it works: They know their customers: they're online, their shopping experience at UO is a lifestyle, UO fits their lifestyle (+3). The blog features free downloadable mixes (same music as played in stores) and features the latest round up of indie pop culture magic (+2). They maintain a distributed presence across multiple social spaces, and they make sense (they're not being social spaces whores +2). -3 for not linking to their Facebook page from the site or blog, and for not using Polyvore.
New front-runer: The Roxy, LA
Blog is their new website
Why it works:The Roxy is a club/event space with new events and info to share all the time-- the switch to a blog makes their "homepage" all the more useful and relevant (+3). A distributed presence on relevant social sites (+2) that is connected and easily accessible from the blog (+1).
I'm having a bit of an identity crisis...lol...and while I find myself mildly amused at my own egoism for stressing about this, it shows the value I suppose in your 'branded' social media spaces and impact on search + identity.
My name is Alisa Leonard. I recently married and my husband's last name is Hansen. I'm quite attached to my maiden name, but was not entirely sold on not taking his name. So I decided on Alisa Leonard Hansen. Unfortunately on my business cards for iCrossing it simply says Alisa Hansen. Its a large company and I joined right when I got married. So everyone knows the new name of Alisa Hansen.
What does this have to do with anything?
Google "Alisa Leonard" and I exist, somewhat on the internet.
Google "Alisa Leonard Hansen" and I exist, but to somewhat of a lesser degree (I went ahead and changed all my social net names to "Alisa Leonard Hansen")
But Google "Alisa Hansen" the results that come up are not me at all. I don't exist as that.
Is this the most ridiculous post ever? Probs. But Google identity is becoming (if not already) sort of THE most important reference you can have....
So, what do I do?
A few more to add to the list
11. A social media strategy does not mean filling every possible social network with your "presence"....Remember, usefulness! Are you a support or drain on a community?
12. Sometimes listening (understanding) to the conversation is better than joining
13. You (the brand) have to be better-- not at "messaging" or even "dialoguing"....you have to be truly, honest-to-pete better. Peter Kim reminds us that "its whats on the inside that counts."
14. It takes people. Human interaction. Sincerity cannot be faked.
15. Be in it for the long haul. We are experiencing a fundamental way in which not only people communicate, but in how we collaborate and produce-- not a fad. Now is the time to start thinking about the long term affects/benefits of social technologies and how they can be applied enterprise-wide (and not just to marketing!)
Brian Morrissey's new article on AdWeek "Why Brands Need a New Kind of Leader" hits the nail on the head with regards to "social media" and why brands need leadership to drive this area.
My favorite quote from the article is from Peter Kim and pretty much sums up the drum I've been beating for a while:
"The biggest challenge is moving away from thinking about it as marketing and PR," said Peter Kim, a Forrester Research analyst. "It's about product development, it's about IT. It's got to cut across all functions of the company."
Lets repeat that together...."The biggest challenge is moving away from thinking about it as marketing and PR"
"social media" is not a silo
I would offer here too that its about using social technologies (can we drop 'social' yet??-- web technologies!) in a useful, effective way. Don't just go out and fill every single social space with your very own branded page/profile/feed and start polluting the space because you think this is "joining the conversation."
Social computing, and the evolution thereof, has always been about enhancing collaboration and connectivity. Social computing has begun and will completely change "marketing" (and markets for that matter...er, ok I'm not an economist, but don't stop me when I'm envisioning!)-- not because a new channel (its not a channel) but because there is a fundamental shift in the way we, people, view ourselves. We are empowered. We don't care about your (you, the brand) message and we in fact increasingly scorn your attempts at marketing.
You (the brand) have to be better-- not at "messaging" or even "dialoguing"....you have to be truly, honest-to-pete better. Peter Kim reminds us that "its whats on the inside that counts." And you know what? Its true.
[redacted]: It sucks. COMMENTERS ARE TAKING OVER THE INTERNET.
me: as opposed to who?
[redacted]: bloggers, i guess. commenters are taking over!
me: as they should
the mob rules
[redacted]: yeah, that's a good point... we WANTED them to win.
me: wanted? as in past tense?
now you don't?
[redacted]: well, they've become a bit of a scourge. they've made life a mess.
me: but thats the bargain you make
when you blog
Which led me to ponder...who are the real influencers? Bloggers/publishers/producers-- or readers/commenters/sharers?
A long-winded answer to....
Question: what are my anecdotal thoughts the cause of Facebook's growth?
"Facebook has always focused more on user experience than anything else. MySpace became riddled with spam and cluttered with ads so much so as to obscure the user experience and users were leaving MySpace in drove around ‘06/’07 to go to the cleaner, more user-friendly FB experience. They also rapidly expanded and marketed to international markets—namely Scandinavia initially (right when Swedish invasion was hitting)
But the single most important factor to Facebook's adoption? The Newsfeed. Streams. The network was more useful because it captures and reports back to users all of the actions taking place within their network. Solid gold utility.
Also, Facebook was first to release a developer API and we saw the rise of the infamous Facebook apps, which drove adoption of the platform.
Because of Facebook’s focus on authentic user experience (most users a registered under their real names as early membership required a university email address) it became a “safe zone” for an older, more professional demographic as well....
Then there was the release of the free Facebook “Business Page” which allows brands to integrate in a non-threatening, non-spammy way into the platform. There’s been a rise in demand from brands to establish these Business Pages as part of their digital marketing mix, driving adoption
Basically, Facebook has focused on offering a better user experience (some even go so far as to attribute the rapid adoption to one single, useful feature-- the News Feed feature), and their growth is a testament to just how vitally important putting user needs and experience first is to any platform.
MySpace allows for branded profiles, but at a cost of $150k
On a side note, MySpace has been late in innovation—they focused more on selling every square inch of space with ads they failed to take into account the poor user experience (spam, the constant “technical difficulty” warning, poor navigation and ugly UI), they have since made strides to change this with a recent re-design and developer API. I think it came a little late, and it will be interesting to see their next steps. I know Chris De Wolfe has said he wants to turn MySpace into a portal site much like a new MSN.com...."
Ready to Get "Socialized"? 10 Things to Consider Before Bothering Your Agency's Overworked Social Media Team
So everyone's drunk the kool aid on social....they've heard the cries of social media strategists everywhere (ahem) that the WEB IS SOCIAL! Ok! everyone's all fired up and inboxes are overflowing with requests for "social"...
For those wanting to "go social" a few things to consider, swallow, accept or dismiss before firing the guns
1. Before you ask about ROI consider this-- people are talking about with or without you. The conversation is invaluable. Are you in or are you out?
2. That's the point! Socializing your brand. Social initiatives are about brand building, community building, feedback gathering, awareness, relationships...it should be inextricable from your brand's strategic plan and certainly central to digital strategy.
3. A note on social media monitoring: a) Approach it with the expectation that it is about providing strategic intelligence based on the consumer conversation b) Use it to benchmark and track initiatives and programs c) Do NOT approach it as a watchdog solution and save you and your social media team the headaches
4. Don't suck as a
5. If you think you can control, "herd," push or pull "consumers" (ahem, people), you're not ready. Have some more kool aid.
6. Can I say it again? Think strategically
7. Ask yourself two questions: How can I be useful? Why will people care?
8. Respect the attention economy
9. If "viral" is somewhere in your aspirations, stop reading this and read this
10. Lighten up, socializing is supposed to be fun
And as one last caveat: as the consumer landscape continues to change due to cheap, ubiquitous technologies that allow for instant, global publishing and communication it will continue to dramatically change the marketing game. If the above list makes you choke on your kool aid, keep drinking.
We are still in the early stages of that change, and while some people are choosing to embrace the "tenets of social" the reality is it won't be a choice for long. The change is charging along. People are social, the Web is our global platform, and markets are conversations (one big long sip of Cluetrain kool aid there-- and MMMM it tastes good).