Social Media Applied to the Traditional Advertising Agency

January 13th, 2013

Social Media Applied to the Traditional Advertising Agency

Social Media: It’s a Love Story

“Your customers live Online – move in with them.”

Social Media Applied to the Traditional Advertising Agency with a mad men twistIntro:

The intent of this document is to go outside of the techie’ things of Social Media, which, is easy to get lost in. Instead, we'll lean to offer a foothold on what Social Media can mean on the human level, whether business, or otherwise for which it was designed. Imagination is your most prolific asset. Social Media, in its most basic form boils down to:  “How would you like to be treated by a good friend?”

The technology that drives Social Media simply provides a means to acquiring an end, or, rather, a beginning of that thing we call "relationship." In broad strokes, it is an end that is defined primarily by the following: (a) What “special” Community do we want to be a part of? (b) What will our Community involvement strategy be? (c) What are the appropriate Social tools to help us become a part of this Community? (d) What ways do we listen? (e) How can we become involved and contribute within the Community? (f) It's your voice, so, what is the first thing you want someone to do when they arrive at your Social Presence and/or Website? (g) How do we continue, nurture and grow our involvement in the Community?

Social Media Strategy and Foundation:

Based on an organization’s core contributory mission within a specific Community, a Social Media Strategy may be built around the philosophy of  “helping people is good business.”

The soul of the strategy is generally defined by four fundamental questions:

1) What is our core contributory mission to the people in this “special” Community?

2) How can we as an organization become a part of and contributor to the Community?

3) What should our “Socializing” look like?

4) What will success look like?

This breaks down to:

- Listening

- Discovery of what we specifically bring of value to a particular Community.

- Discovery application.

- Introducing ourselves.

- Socializing / acceptance / conversion / on going discovery.

How to Begin: The Broad Strokes - in Detail

- Community(s) of Interest: Selecting the Community you want to be a part of.

- Listen with intent.

- Define: In general,  what way(s) will you become involved/help/participate in these Community(s).

- Primary Social platforms to be used to arrive at desired goal(s). Why these platforms?
(Generally, the Social Platforms will be chosen for you by the "communities" you chose to participate in.)

- Secondary Social platforms used for support. (Why these platforms?) You may find a secondary platform out of almost nowhere becomes a primary. Adding/modification of Social platforms.

- Search/Discovery

- System Creation to help build followers/friends/other.

- Are disclaimers needed citing expressions from individual, rather than the organization, etc?

- Simple guidelines.

- Who will be the enterprise “engagers” to begin with?

- Level of engagement - i.e. closeness.

- What, overall, will be the content shared to encourage engagement within the Community(s) chosen by the enterprise that it would like to become involved with? (This most likely will be determined and evolve via the conversations you'll have within the community, as in life.)

- Designation of  “Crisis” response responders – (“watchdogs”).

- Stay observant, open-minded, and ready to adapt, and keep it professionally fun. Social Media is truly “social,” and, a true “community culture.”

- Monitoring / Testing /  Reporting / Insights / “Capturing” an Opportunity / Keeping the fires stoked. Capture potential trends, up-and-coming community niche watch/popularity, insights, patterns, correlations, hidden nuggets in plain sight, what - not so much why, and the invaluable ability to respond in real-time.

- Measuring: e.g. what forms of content are people (hopefully) engaging with you on, and or sharing, or, other? Such as: video, blogs, helpful tips, Online forms, white papers, FB posts, Re-Tweets, SMS, contests, survey, causes, coupons, deals, other. Content popularity, e.g.: “people seem to like this video…” What content seems to be growing in popularity? What content seems to be not as popular, etc., etc.

- What content incites passion - positive or negative.

- Engagement.

- Authority building – making your presence known – positive impact intent.

- Press Releases.

- Connecting the dots.

- ROI.

- Training / Consulting.

- What will success look like?

- Thinking ahead. Preparation for 2-3-5 years down the road. What could the “Social” landscape be like? What will our Social presence and involvement possibly look like? What would we like it to be?

- Imagine.

- Listen.

Broad Strokes Quick Picks:

- Listen.

- Engage/respond, converse, monitor, measure.

- Kinds of engagement: what are they engaging (sharing) with:  forms, helpful tips, video, blogs, white papers, chat, email, other. Is authoritative value being built or extended upon?

- Guidelines: who – level – crisis – type of engagement (this could be very fluid).

- Alert Setup: competitive recon, what people are saying about you – what they are not saying - crisis response.

- Linked-in profiles/involvement.

- Pure Marketing: Contests – Surveys – Causes – Giveback – Press Releases - Deals, Timing, Other.

- Be realistic – keep expectations in line.

- Listen – observe behaviors. The Internet is the most powerful monitoring tool devised – so far.

Addressing the Social Media Conundrum at the Organizational Level:

Some organizations may have a top tier team in place for analytics, monitoring, technical, content, design, and presentation, but, it stops there, and yields to a kind of scratching of the heads asking “what do we do now?” The expertise is in place, but where do you go from there?

Answer: A Social Media Strategy is now needed:

The need at this juncture is tie things together with a Social Strategy to hang your shingle on, fend off, and then dissolve the head scratching so you can move forward. This strategy should be based on the “Community” you want to become involved with, and, how you intend to contribute. The Social tools applied always support the strategy - unequivocally.

There’s an old saying: “Strategy without action is a daydream. Action without strategy is a nightmare.” With Social Media, this can be so true. It’s best at times to temporarily put the “Social Technologies” that powers our “digital connectedness” to the side, and let the imagination do its thing.

Plant Your Social Media Strategy Flag Around the Philosophy of "Helping People is Good Business" –  and Own Something:

Keeping in mind this is truly a Social/Community thing, not so much “broadcast,” here are few examples of what to build a Social Media Strategy around, based on the Community, and what you have to offer to a specific Community that’s of unique value, perceived, or otherwise:

- Entertainment

- Being a Friend

- Being a Good Friend

- Informative

- Passion

- Hope

- Inspiration

- Fun

- Happiness

- Games

- Amusement

- Imaginative

- Sensational / Sensationalism

- Cause

- Off –The-Wall

- What Makes You Extraordinary

- What Makes You Worthy of My Recommendation

- More

Of course this could be a combination, but, always aligned with the primary, or core Social strategy. Focus of the “Social Voice” is important, obviously, just like branding – what do you want to be known for within your “special” Community. It's a Universal Paradox: “More focused the message, the wider the reach.”

About Influencers:

Strive to become an Influencer yourself in the Community. How? Be Extraordinary. Then, existing Influencers will come your way, and, come from Social regions you may never expect. Fight the urge to chase the influencers, (don’t ignore them either), establish the mindset of you becoming the influencer who is sought after.


* No one, or thing can “create” a Community – the Communities are already there.

* You can’t control the conversation, but, you can control the most important part of
the conversation - yours.

* A person doesn’t recommend a brand to friends because they care about the brand; they recommend a brand because they care about their friends.

* The software behind the scenes is designed to mimic human nature itself.

* Social is forcing an issue with brands (and winning) to “fall out of love” with themselves, and, to
instead, fall in love with their customers – on an unprecedented level.

 * There are no Experts, only the Driven.

Primary Social Channels Legend:

Google = Interests, and Everything Else

Facebook = Relationships

Twitter = Interests

Pinterest = Lifestyles/Interests

YouTube = Almost Everything

FourSquare = Lifestyle (Mobile)

* Google Plus = Relationships

* Email = Communication

* SMS = Communication

* Website = Marketing


Alternative Social Channels Legend:

* Daily Motion (Third largest video site in the world)

* Meta Café (Short form video)

* Telephone

Advertising, by its nature, already “knows.” Applying what the Advertising Agency already knows in a different environment is what can “throw” a communicator. To draw a parallel, an astronaut knows how to walk, but, walking on the moon takes an adjustment. Once a communicator “gets” Social, all advertising, marketing and communication efforts will be looked at differently.

... Or, an Ad Agency can just go out and buy Social exposure like any other media purchase.
(But, that may not be enough soon.)

"Advertising is the invitation - Social is where the party is."
(We want to thank someone for this current truism, but, we can't recall who.)


*Image courtesy of  AMC's Mad Men

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Blackball Online Marketing

3357 Wallace Dr

Pittsburgh, PA 15227

(412) 377-7280

Who’s Looking in Our Digital Garbage Cans?

December 27th, 2012

Who’s Looking in Our Digital Garbage Cans?

The Devil (as Played by Al Pacino) wants your digital garbage too

The Devil (as Played by Al Pacino) wants your digital garbage too

What if a consumer brand could look into your garbage can, anywhere – anytime? It’s happening everyday Online, digitally. Brands are digging where the sun ain't shining and finding out a lot about us, not just personally, but, very-very personally.

I’m talking about your digital garbage can, not your living room, or even your bedroom. Hell, we've been leaving the window open in those two rooms for you-know-who to come in and root around for a good while now. Digital garbage cans are a whole new level for brand “engagement.” This is the kind of rooting that can yield some super-serious consumer intel – in real-time to boot. For a brand, this is like Christmas 24/7 and the "gift" is in the form of some very überesque consumer data – on an unprecedented and very scary level.

It’s all happening as we speak. Those doing the “real” looking are getting better and better at it everyday, and, they don't want you to know it. There’s over a billion plus of us, and growing, happily inviting those doing the “peeking” into our lives, bedrooms, and garbage cans - all in exchange for maybe, just maybe, somebody will “Like” us.

Facebook is one of the most prolific consumer, people, constituent, you name it, monitoring platforms ever devised - so far. It’s “the ultimate backstage pass,” (a special thanks to John Milton – The Devil’s Advocate) and then some.

Google is doing the same thing with G+. Every mention of products or services trigger a feeding frenzy behind the scenes which allows these massive HAL type machines to build a digital profile of each of us.

So let’s get back to the “garbage can” and what in the world could a consumer brand do with this kind of "particular stuff” they find? I’m real tempted to say “Duh” here, but, I won’t. With this kind of data, a consumer brand can “hit” a consumer with all kinds of highly personalized ads for things – or services, before something even happens with a person. Simply grabbing posting chatter from someone talking about an up-and-coming event in his or her's life a few weeks or 9 months from now, not to mention a pick up of more useful "tidbits" along the way is all it takes. Brands have always been obsessed with not just predictability, but the right kind of predictability. Well, now they got it. Just ask Facebook.

Of course there could be ramifications, there always are.

The Bottom Line (there always gotta’ be one of those) is:

Big Brother isn’t just watching – he’s moved in, and, looking in our digital garbage cans. The best part is, we’ve rolled out the welcome mat for him, so maybe, just maybe, we’ll be “Liked.” Add to this the pre-garbage data that is gleaned from all the shopping cards veiled as money saving specials all designed to gather demographic, purchasing, and behavioral data and you got a brand blueprint of a customer and predictability that only your nearest and dearest should have.

Oh, and just so you know, there is somebody who can dig into our digital garbage cans better than Facebook, and yep, it's yours truly - Google.

A little worthless side-note: If I were a Communications/Advertising company, with a hunger for Social, I’d seriously consider hiring law enforcement professionals, specifically computer forensic and detective types. They saw and applied Facebook’s potential for peeking into peoples digital garbage cans long before a lot of other professionals did. And, nobody does it better… just my two cents.

Contact Blackball Online Marketing for all your Internet Marketing needs.

Quality in a Disposable Society

December 11th, 2012

Quality in a Disposable Society


Image courtesy of Rolex The Finest Quality Watches in the World

Getting introspective seems to be a trait I possess. I have been wanting to write a post about Quality for some time. As with most of my writing, I usually kick around ideas and chew on them a while. Sort of a mental sorting out process is what I call it. Let’s hope it’s Quality.

Quality is Subjective

Personal opinions on “what is quality?” can certainly vary greatly. When it comes to opinion and speculation I like to forget the point of view and judge the motive. What I mean by that is; if I look at whether I agree or disagree with the writer, blogger, or person on the other end of the conversation, I may miss the point. But, if I concentrate on the motive behind the point of view stated I can get a much better appreciation of the quality of the point without having to agree or disagree at all.

Quality Lasts

Durability and longevity are factors I consider when looking for quality in anything. Will the person, product, or service be there for me when I need them / it most? Will they / it outperform similar people, or products, or services? Do they / it do the specific job better or faster or more reliably than all others in their / it’s class? These are my benchmarks for quality.

Quality People

I watched an interview with Steve Martin of SNL, comedy, movie star and extraordinary banjo player fame where he stated the keys to his success were, “Focus and Obsession”. It got me thinking about Quality. Steve Martin is a quality guy who has certainly gotten better with age.


Quality Backup Band (note about the video)

Earl Scruggs and his sons Randy on acoustic guitar and Gary on Harmonica, and a stellar group that included Vince Gill and Albert Lee on electric guitar, Marty Stewart on mandolin, Glen Duncan on fiddle, Jerry Douglas on Dobro, Glenn Wolf on bass, Harry Stinson on drums, Leon Russell on organ and Paul Shaffer on piano.

When I meet quality people they just stand out. They possess all the traits that I aspire to. They are courteous, prompt, professional, giving, and kind. These are just a few of the adjectives I’d use to describe what quality means to me in people. Quality people take the time to teach, love, and share their time; which I believe is the most important thing we have as humans. :-)

"Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franklin (<-- another quality guy)

Quality Local Pittsburgh Businesses

With all this in mind, Blackball Online Marketing is starting a Quality Local Business section to our blog. We will be spotlighting and promoting local businesses we have used or that carry some of the traits we have outlined in this post. One thing we have learned over the years is that our credibility goes with every recommendation we make. So you can feel comfortable knowing that if we recommend a company you can trust them.

Image courtesy of ROLEX

Have any local Pittsburgh businesses that you would recommend? Contact Blackball Online Marketing or leave a comment. Link spam will be deleted because that’s not quality. 8-:)>