Tag Archives: Social network

The five stages of social media grief. Or how I learned to stop worrying about the bomb.

In the last couple years, we in advertising and marketing have had to deal with a lot of what could be called destructive change. Part of this has been from the economy, and also a good deal has come from social media.

And as 2010 closes, it’s great to see how far we’ve made it as an industry with integrating social media into our practices. For those of us already there, it’s taken more than a few steps:

The first stage is denial. This denial usually isn’t that social media exists but that it has any relevance at all. People in stage one often say, “I don’t care what anyone had for breakfast.”

The second stage is anger. Most marketing managers feel that they already have enough on their plate; it’s only natural that a new, unwanted burden should, well, piss them off. You’ll hear people in stage two muttering about Facebook or putting expletives in front of the word Twitter.

The third stage is bargaining.  Bargaining often revolves around stakeholders trying to get someone else to handle the burden of responsibility. Hiring an intern often occurs in this stage.

The fourth stage is depression. This is when the responsibility is accepted and the burden of learning is taken on. Mood swings are a regular occurrence in this stage.  One minute, the griever is excited by the possibilities and the next overwhelmed by the sheer size of the space.

The fifth stage is acceptance. Once the learning curve starts to bend down, the depression starts to subside. You can easily recognize when someone is in this stage because this is when they start talking intelligently about integrating Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube into marketing plans. Because they can start to see the real benefits of this new form of engagement. This is when the grief ends and magic can finally begin to happen.

If you’re still working your way through these stages, don’t fret, you’ll get there. It’s part of the new marketing landscape, and the sooner we’re able to fully accept it the sooner we’ll reap its rewards.

— Jimmy Gilmore, Senior Copywriter

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Measurement is everywhere.

So have you seen the movie yet?  I’m referring to The Social Network, or, as my parents call it, “that Facebook movie.”  If you haven’t seen it, I highly advise you to stop reading (or continue reading on your mobile device) and get to the theater ASAP.

Why recommend this movie?  First of all, it was fantastic.  Secondly, the results have been nothing short of spectacular.  And that’s the world we live in, where everything from entertainment to marketing and advertising budgets has become results-oriented.

Gone are the days when people were willing to spend their money, personal or business, without setting expectations.  How easy is it to go online and check out a movie’s trailer, see what others think of the movie, and then purchase the tickets?  From research to transaction in a matter of minutes.  So what does the research say about The Social Network?

No need for me to go on.  You get the idea; the movie is good, and that’s not just coming from me.  The results say it all; so get comfortable with the new world we live in, where everything is measurable, and while you’re at it, let me know what YOU think and if there’s anything else out there you recommend.  I hear The Town is trending upward…

— Gary Sayers, VP, Account Director

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Thank you for sharing.

Part of the creative’s job these days is to develop ways to encourage sharing a new campaign. It’s no longer enough to create brilliant creative that connects with the audience. Now, creative needs to be so powerful that it encourages “engagement” and “sharing.”

Is there a formula for creating engaging, shareable creative? No, but there are some guidelines. And they must be followed by more than just the folks in the creative department. In fact, it requires everyone who touches the project to make it happen.

A) Creative must be easy to share. That means unlocking the content and putting Share buttons on it (not on a Web page) so that the components can live beyond the page. This allows the audience to take ownership of the content and share it with their friends the way they actually use the Web.

A video that only lives on a Web page isn’t easily shareable to Facebook aficionados who are used to sharing YouTube videos on their wall. And allowing bloggers to embed your content on their blog gives them partial ownership and will generate more interest than requiring them to post a link and send their readers off their site.

B) Make your strategy relevant. Messages like the “best,” “cheapest,” and the “most value for your money” aren’t going to cut it in the world of social sharing. You have to get on the level of your consumer and stop talking down at them. Relate to them with something that is fun or has emotional meaning, and you’re more likely to find them sharing your message with their peers.

C) Be inclusive and honest. People can smell an aloof fake a mile away. Especially the connectors who are the ones that share content socially.

D) Don’t execute just to the media plan. Get into the minds of consumers and think about their behavior and how they will interact with your campaign.

E) All this isn’t enough if the creative is weak. Last year it might have been, when few marketers were in the social sphere. Now that the novelty of social marketing has worn off, creative must be entertaining and provocative.

What are you doing to make your creative shareable?

— Jimmy Gilmore, Senior Writer

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In the age of social media, everyone needs a policy

So does your company need a policy? The short answer is duh, yeah.

The long answer is, of course, much more complicated. You see, your policy should be defined by the kind of company you are and the goals you have for social media in general.

Do you even want your company involved in social media? In my opinion the answer should be yes, for any company. But if the answer is no, your social media policy should reflect this. Because you can’t ignore social media and expect it to go away.

Let your employees know they’re not free to talk about the company on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else on the Web. If you don’t tell them not to, they may decide to do it on their own. If you don’t believe me, start a monitoring program now; you may be surprised.

Or maybe you want your average employee fielding inquiries from Twitter? This is working pretty well for Zappos and Best Buy. But if you produce a highly regulated product like pharmaceuticals it might not be such a great idea to have unlicensed people giving out medical advice.

Do you have a social media strategy? If this strategy involves blogging and using Facebook, it should be reflected in your social media policy. Let people know who is free to field questions on Facebook and who is not.

Are only certain people allowed to blog about the company? What about on their own personal blog? For example, I have one and clearly state that what I’m writing is not the opinion of my employers, although I do prominently link them on my site.

What are your employees allowed to talk about? Are there taboo subjects?

Must they have training before they’re allowed to engage on behalf of the company?

This list could go easily get long – especially if the lawyers get involved. The trick is to keep it short enough to encourage interaction without being so short that it encourages bad behavior.

One thing to keep in mind, your employees have been spreading word of mouth about your company since it began. This is only the next step in that evolution. So the key is providing practical guidelines to keep employees from making missteps in a new media.

Bonus: Here is some reference for developing your company’s guidelines.

— Jimmy Gilmore, Senior Writer

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With Social Media as a Soapbox, Everyone’s a Critic

I am old enough to remember a time when the only critics of your brand were people who had first-hand experience with it or professionals paid to publish formal reviews.   Now, with Social Media, everyone is a critic.

It was reported that 3,600 people blogged about the Super Bowl commercials this year.  These weren’t blogs about the Super Bowl or the halftime show; they were only about the commercials.  Look at the discussion threads for some of the more controversial spots (Audi “Green Police”, Focus on the Family’s “Tebow” spot), and it is apparent that some of the posts are coming from people who didn’t even see the spots.

Similarly, my Facebook news feed is littered with rants, raves and follow-up comments across a wide range of issues.  I’ve witnessed a fairly comprehensive review of the service at major auto repair facilities.  I’ve formed impressions of restaurants and the food they serve based on the photos friends have posted.  I’ve even been privy to heated debate about political candidates in states where I can’t even vote.   In many of these cases, my overall impressions are formed not just from the initial posting, but the replies of people who jumped on the Social Media soapbox and offered a point of view even if it wasn’t based on first-hand experience.

So, will Social Media become the primary tool by which are brands will be evaluated in the future – regardless of the whether the critic has personal experience with it or not?  According to Edelman’s recently released Trust Barometer, probably not.  It reports that only 25% of us consider our peers credible sources of information and that we must hear the same message from 4-5 different sources before it is considered trustworthy.

However, it would be naïve to categorically dismiss Social Media generated criticism as a hot trend that provides a self-absorbed generation their 15 minutes of fame.

It is more likely that Social Media’s critical commentary will establish itself as one of those 4-5 points of influence, challenging marketers to further refine their tracking, analysis and response to address the many levels of experience it represents.

— Pam Alvord, Chief Strategist

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