I Do (Love Social Media)!

November 12, 2010 - One Response

One of my best friends from high school just recently got engaged and I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of her bridesmaids! Today I ran across an article on Mashable’s site called, “HOW TO: Tastefully Use Social Media at Your Wedding.”

The first thing I thought was, “How in the world can using social media at a wedding be tasteful?”

Texing Bride

Texting Bride courtesy of Google Images

I think on my big day, or at least I hope, I will be able to put down my phone and put away my computer and enjoy my friends and family. However, this article had some great advice on how using social media can engage your friends and family and help you capture some really great moments on your big day.

Many of the experts suggest opening a virtual area online for your guests to meet before the reception to cut back on any possibility of awkwardness. Mashable interviewed Azure Nelson of OneWed and he suggested using a social network such as OneWed’s Wedding Pre-Party. This site allows your guests to see who else is invited and interact and post comments to the wall. You can also upload photos from pre-wedding parties and post-wedding parties.

The Groom’s Wedding Blog from TheManRegistry.com spoke to other experts on this same topic. They also spoke to OneWeb on Twitter and they said that opening a site like this could help prevent upsetting those who weren’t invited.

Oh Yes I Do suggests that using Twitter and Facebook to bookmark milestones, like finding your dress, cake or bridesmaid dresses, is a great way to let others know where you’re at in the process.

One suggestion I really loved on the Mashable article was dumping the traditional disposable cameras and creating a Flickr account instead. This will allow guests to upload photos immediately to the account. They suggest streaming it live to a projector so everyone can see what other guests are doing during the reception.

The other suggestion I loved from the article was streaming parts of the day live to a close relative that can’t make it (be as inconspicuous as possible with the camera). Recording the reception and allowing them to video message you a toast is a great way for relatives out of the state (or country in some cases) to still be a part of your big day.

No Social Media

No Social Media courtesy of Google Images

No matter what sort of social media fun you get into at your wedding always remember. KEEP IT OFFLINE DURING THE CEREMONY. Ask guests to stay off of phones during the ceremony. This is a very private special moment that should not be tweeted, updated, liked, bookmarked, tagged, etc. Some may disagree with me like this couple:

Call me old fashioned but I would be way more concerned about actually tying the knot than tweeting to my “friends” online about tying the knot.

What do you think of incorporating social media into your big day? Do you only tweet before the ceremony, after the ceremony, on the honeymoon? What sort of updates would you make as your big day approaches?

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Finding Shelter from Social Media Fire

November 2, 2010 - Leave a Response

Recently, I read that PETA has set its always-watching eyes on Coach. They are trying to get supporters to blast Coach’s social media sites with what some believe to be over the top, graphic images in order to get Coach to stop selling fur items. Caroline McCarthy of CNET News goes into more detail on the feud in her article, “Anti-fur activists flood Coach Facebook page.”

Coach Logo courtesy of Google

Coach Logo courtesy of Google

The images that were blasted on the famous leather goods company’s Facebook were of caged and skinned animals. Fans of the site were appalled by the graphic images. Coach began taking the images down and had to disable any image posting on the page. Fans, who wanted to share their new Coach purchases, were very disappointed.

McCarthy compared the Coach/PETA feud to the Greenpeace/Nestle feud that took place earlier this year. Greenpeace began using similar tactics on Nestlé’s social media sites to convince them to stop gathering palm oil in rainforest ecosystems. Nestle, much like Coach, began removing these posts from its Facebook page; this tactic backfired for Nestle after doctored photos of the company’s logo caused the page administrator to lash out against activists. Greenpeace ended out coming out on top in that feud but it doesn’t look like PETA will be quite as lucky.

Doctored Nestle Logo courtesy of Google

Doctored Nestle Logo

So what do you do if your company, product, organization, etc. ends up under fire on its social media sites? If you take too much down, you look like your censoring or hiding something and if you leave too much up it could upset current fans or do serious damage to your image.

Sarah Palin’s Facebook page for example, is rigorously patrolled by what one would assume to be a very diligent team of individuals. John Dickerson of Slate talks in depth about the sort of content that is taken down from the fanpage. They found that about 10 percent of posts to her Facebook fanpage were deleted after 24 hours of going live online.

Instead of going censor crazy, Jeremiah Owyang explains that companies should plan ahead for these sorts of issues. Owyang supplied a list of key take-aways from the Nestle debacle. He explains that every company will have critics but with social media, it’s easier now more than ever for critics to merge to plan a strategic attack against a company. He suggests that in order to prepare for a social media attack, have a plan ahead of time and make sure that an experienced communicator is managing during a social media crisis.

I think that Coach has done the right thing, for now, in disabling photos to protect fans and allowing comments only from activists to continue on its fanpage. However, keeping quiet and hoping for the best is not going to keep the masses at bay. I’m hoping that Coach’s public relations team is planning a way to speak out against the accusations in a strategic fashion.

*EDIT: Today, our PR Online Tactics class Skyped with Chuck Hemann of WCG and he made an excellent point on responding to negativity in social media. “When you get a negative comment you want to take it offline,” Hemann said. By offline he means send them a direct message away from the Facebook or Twitter comment feed. You want to address negativity in social media directly with the person having the issue. This could explain why we haven’t seen any public outreach from Coach on its social media sites.

Do you think that Coach is handling this situation well? Does keeping quiet make Coach look guilty, or admirable for taking the high road? Do you think that companies should expect controversy on social media sites?

Social Media + Traditional Media = Power Couple

October 20, 2010 - Leave a Response

I usually like to address how social media helps companies reach audiences to sell products or raise awareness for a company’s brand. This post, I’d like to look at how news is using social media more than ever to drive traffic to their sites. I follow NYTimes and NPR on Twitter, because I can quickly browse through the day’s headlines directly on my phone. Links will be posted and if a story sounds interesting, I usually click on the links to read more. This gives me the chance to easily scan through news to meet my interests.

With issues that are breaking in the news, Social media can be an extremely useful tool by allowing media outlets to update publics on big events as they happen. A good example of this would be the recent Chilean miners’ rescue. I personally received about four Facebook notifications from friends who had updated links regarding the rescue.

Chilean Miners

Photo of Chilean Miners (found on the Wallstreet Journal)

Mashable states that the broadcasts of the rescue broke television and online audience records. They also state that news traffic hit a two-year high at 4,052,459 page viewers per minute, while Twitter yielded about 104,000 messages per hour during the time of the rescue. YouTube had 16,100 new videos tagged “Chile” and “miners” by that Thursday. Here’s a “Countdown to Chile Miner Rescue” from CBS News:

Online Social Media blogger Maddy Rowe said that even celebrities were tweeting well wishes to the trapped minors before and after the rescue such as Justin Bieber and Ryan Seacrest. In an article on CNN’s website, they talked about how many news outlets, such as the Guardian and The Huffington Post, blogged about the rescue as it panned out. Mashable explained that TV viewership more than doubled on several major networks during the rescue (which was the most significant amount of views since the 2008 presidential election).

This is evidence for why I think social media and traditional media make a fantastic team. More and more people are going to the Internet and TV for their news. The Nielsen Company reported that nearly 60 percent of people view TV and surf the Internet at the same time (almost 35 percent more than last year). People want their news quick and updated constantly. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube allow publics to not only receive news, but also start a conversation about news and share links and information with others. As more and more news stories are being linked to on social media outlets, more people are driven to the individual news outlets sites. Newspapers should not convert solely to social media as means to informing publics on what is going on in the world, but they should utilize the growing social media world, now more than ever.

How did you watch the Chilean miners’ rescue? Do you surf the web and watch TV at the same time? Do you ever Tweet, or update your Facebook status about something you’re watching on TV? How do you feel about the growing relationship between traditional news outlets and online media?

Conan O’Brien Adds Foursqaure to Team Coco’s Social Media Artillery

October 12, 2010 - Leave a Response

As Conan O’Brien gets ready to make his late night comeback on November 8 on TBS, he prepares by ramping up his social media campaign. If you haven’t already heard about his feud with NBC, the short version is O’Brien quit after being told he was going to be moved an hour back so that Jay Leno could still have a show (you can read more on ABC’s website).

Team Coco poster credit to the NYTimes

Team Coco poster, found in NYTimes article

Whether or not you agree with O’Brien’s decision to quit, you have to admit that his social media efforts to gain support have been a huge success. His viral campaign started by accident when a fan, Mike Mitchell, posted a link to a poster he created on his Twitter in support of O’Brien. From there, O’Brien blew NBC and Jay Leno out of the social media waters. The poster was printed on t-shirts, used for Facebook profile pictures, Twitter gravatars, on blog posts and the list continues. You can read more about this campaign and why it has been successful on Thoughtpick’s blog.

Scott Kleinberg with the Chicago Tribune wrote an article about why O’Brien came out on top in the social media feud over NBC and Jay Leno. He compared the number of fans on each Facebook page and monitored the amount of mentions on Twitter for each (the current count of Facebook “likes,” I’m With Coco- 1,070,798 Leno- 201,624).

After rallying fans to join “Team Coco” through Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, he has now has added Foursquare to his social media artillery. Now he’s getting his own bright orange blimp to fly over the East Coast through October. When fans spot the blimp they can check into Foursquare to unlock a special Conan badge.

The Conan blimp is also equipped with its own website, live camera and constantly updated map. O’Brien’s team will also be adding updates on his Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook with clues about where the blimp is headed. Here’s a video from the blimp:

I personally think that O’Brien got lucky with the success of all of this. I think he did a great job of expanding the social media outlets at the right time though. No one would be all that excited about a giant orange Conan blimp, unless they have been following this all along (right around 1 million according to his Facebook page). The fact that O’Brien appeals to a much younger crowd than Leno also could be attributed to the success of this campaign.

Why do you think Conan O’Brien’s social media campaign was so successful? Do you think more “organic” social media campaigns could have such a huge impact? Do you think this Foursquare move is a part of O’Brien’s campaign or a way for Foursquare to cash in on Team Coco’s success?

Pampers and Amazon Team up to Sell Diapers Through Facebook

October 4, 2010 - 3 Responses

Pampers Facebook fan page

Imagine how excited I was when I read that Pampers is working with Amazon to sell its products directly through Facebook. Diaper sales are not the most interesting concept in the world but, let’s be honest, you can actually buy the products directly from the Pampers Facebook fan page. They don’t redirect you, or take you to the Pampers website or to the Amazon page, they are selling directly from a “Shop Now” tab on the Facebook fan page, and that is pretty cool.

While buying diapers is probably not at the top of your online shopping list, unless you’re a tech savvy mom, the concept behind the new tab is pretty smart. More people are spending more and more time on Facebook and larger companies like Proctor & Gamble are looking to use that to their advantage.

Lately, we’ve seen more specialized tabs and features on the Facebook fan pages of a lot of companies and products. This takes those tabs to a whole new level. Getting the customer engaged in social media tactics is hard enough to do, but actually integrating it with selling the product makes it easier for customers to get what they want, when they want it, in the medium they want it in.

Jay Yarow of Business Insider spoke to Colin Sebastian, a Lazard analyst, who thinks this could be a huge revenue opportunity for Facebook. Yarow pointed out that, for now, Facebook is not collecting revenue off of this, but they probably will, just like they have with Zynga. Zynga creates games for Facebook and Myspace like FarmVille, Mafia Wars and FrontierVille. Now you can buy credits on a lot of these applications, and part of that revenue is going straight to Facebook.

Eric Engleman of TechFlash asked Amazon spokeswoman Tracy Ogden if Amazon would be powering more of these Facebook stores. She simply said that they company doesn’t discuss future plans. However, in an interview with Brian Walker, an e-commerce analyst for Forrester Research, Walker said even though the volume of sales coming in on social media pages is fairly small, getting these sort of sites together are not very expensive and good experiments for brands to try out.

Christina Warren of Mashable explained that even though Pampers is the first example of an actual store tab on Facebook that this is not the first use of e-commerce. Disney Pixar added a tab on its fan page that allowed customers to shop for movie tickets and even invite friends to different showings of the Toy Story 3 movie. Sony Pictures Entertainment has also added tabs similar to this on fan pages for films such as Eat Pray Love and Resident Evil: Afterlife.

Disney Pixar ticket purchase tab

These new tabs allow consumers to become even more engaged than ever before with companies. So many companies already have Amazon WebStores or use Amazon for payment processing, that you may expect to see more and more of these sort of tabs appearing on Facebook fan pages.

Do you think offering a web store directly from a Facebook fan page is a good idea? Do you think that more companies will start doing this, or do you feel that they will put their resources to use elsewhere? Do you think Facebook should be making a profit off of these stores on its fan pages?

Personal Memories Inspire New Disney Advertising and Social Media Campaign

September 27, 2010 - 3 Responses

I’ll never forget my family vacation to Disney World filled with two days of rain. As we walked through Magic Kingdom and Epcot in our matching Mickey Mouse ponchos we had purchased at one of the gift shops, we couldn’t help but laugh the whole time.

the rain lets up briefly

The laughing was not just at the fact that my parents, aunt and uncle, and grandmother had saved up a ton of money to treat us all to the trip, but also because we were really having a great time. Rain or shine, Disney has always offered its visitors unforgettable memories from within the walls of its parks. The few trips that I have been fortunate enough to take have all been ones that I will hold near to my heart for the rest of my life.

All of us posing for our Disney memories

Now, Disney is cashing in on those memories with a social media and advertising campaign called “Let the Memories Begin.” Fans are being encouraged to share their videos, photos or stories of trips to Disney World or Disneyland. Fans have been uploading their content online using YouTube, Facebook, Myspace and the Disney’s “Let the Memories Begin” website.

With the photos and video that Disney collects, its making new television commercials that will begin airing this week. Here is a spot Disney has posted online to give you an idea of what the ads will look like:

I personally feel that this is a pretty ingenious marketing/advertising campaign. Not only has Disney done a fantastic job of using this approach to get fans to visit its different social media sites, but also the ads are truly touching. As Christina Warren of Mashable explained, it’s a fantastic way to remind people of the magic they have felt during their own visits to the parks. This approach is personal and relatable because it’s people sharing experiences with one another, not staged situations from actors smiling for the cameras.

They used the Walt Disney World Facebook page as well as the Disneyland Resort Facebook page to announce the new campaign. On Sept. 22 Disney announced it had a “big announcement” about its parks on Facebook that would be unveiled in 24 hours live from New York City. The next day, a special tab on the sites led fans of the pages to a live video of the official announcement.

During the announcement Tom Bergeron of America’s Funniest Home Videos talks to Peter Yesawich, chairman and CEO of Ypartnerships. Ypartnerships is a marketing research firm that made a great connection of why it thought this campaign would be so successful. Since social media sites are where most people share pictures or video of vacations, why not centralize those to one spot specific to Disney? Yesawich referred to this as social media “scrapbooks.”

They also interviewed Michael J. Fox about his experiences at Disney with his family. He displayed photos of his own family’s vacations to the parks and shared a few stories during the live video announcement.

The content shared by fans will also be displayed during Disney’s new “Let the Memories Begin” nighttime experiences starting Jan. 2011. The content will be projected up against Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World and against the “It’s a Small World” façade at Disneyland.

Do you think Disney has created a successful social media and advertising campaign? Do you feel that they blew the “unveiling” of the campaign out of proportions? How would you feel about being a part of the new campaign?

A Look at Old Spice’s Social Media Success

September 20, 2010 - One Response

I want to highlight a social media campaign that occurred this summer that I thought was innovative and hilarious. The recent Old Spice commercials featuring “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” or former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa, have been quite popular since they first aired during the Super Bowl in 2009. The commercials effectively speak to men and women, one of the first for a product made only for men (also a smart move since women often do some shopping for their men).

Ad agency Wieden + Kennedy launched their popular Old Spice spokesperson into the social media world this past July. Mustafa responded to tweets, Facebook comments, bloggers and questions posted to Yahoo Answers about the product. A team worked around the clock to monitor social media outlets for any mentions of @Old Spice. Mustafa would then quickly respond with a video message on YouTube. The campaign went viral and an outpouring of mentions on Twitter ensued.

Why Old Spice was successful:

This is an example of an effective social media campaign because Wieden + Kennedy made sure to use several different outlets (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) and were smart about which audiences to targeted online with video responses. The team targeted opinion leaders (celebrities and influential bloggers), but also made sure to target the regular consumer.

Brenna Ehrlich of Mashable made the excellent point that targeting the average consumer made them more aware of the Old Spice brand by engaging them and making them part of this “world” that Old Spice has created.

Ryan Cox of EverythingPR points out that, in a lot of cases, the personal relationships created around a product can often surpass the quality of the product itself. Cox also explains that Old Spice gave its audience what they wanted (personal responses), when they wanted it (in real time), where they wanted it (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube).

They ended up posting over 150 personalized videos to YouTube before finally calling it quits. Here is a response to celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton’s tweet:

Cisco Spice, not so successful:

While I highlight a successful campaign, I should also cover a copycat campaign that did not do so well. Cisco Systems, Inc. started a “Cisco Spice” campaign with its spokesperson “Ted from Accounting” to promote its computer routers. Days after the end of the Old Spice campaign, Doug Webster of Cisco Service Provider’s Marketing Team launched a video explaining how they were putting together a similar campaign to promote Cisco’s routers.

Eighteen videos and only a few thousand views later, Cisco called it quits. So why was Cisco’s campaign unsuccessful?

Megan O’Neill with Social Times points out that Cisco didn’t set the stage to make this a success. They didn’t create any hype or buzz about “Ted” before starting the campaign. Consumers knew Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” long before launching its campaign, due to the television ads.

O’Neill also points out Cisco used not one, but three separate accounts on Twitter to run the campaign. There was nowhere for followers to go to, to see how the campaign was progressing. Cisco could have engaged more people by creating a little cohesion with only one Twitter account. I know if I had tried to find where to go on Twitter to be a part of this, I would have no idea which Twitter account to follow for updates.

With Cisco’s failed attempt at copying Old Spice, do you think any company or organization could come up with another campaign as successful? Do you think Old Spice may strike again with another successful social media campaign? Why do you think Old Spice was so successful?

I thought I would leave you with this last video so that you can get to know Ted. Enjoy!