Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Social Media Applied to the Traditional Advertising Agency

Sunday, 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. And, instead, 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. 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) Socializing: How can we become involved and contribute within the Community? (f) Engagement: 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, one example of a Social Media Strategy may be built around “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:

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

- Discovery application.

- Introducing ourselves.

- Socializing / acceptance / conversion.

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?)

- 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: finding people in your chosen Community(s) of interest to follow, with the goal of building a kinship/following for your enterprise.

- 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.

- 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.

- Monitoring: capture potential trends, up-and-coming community niche watch/popularity, insights, patterns, correlations, hidden nuggets in plain sight, what - not so much why.

- What content incites passion - positive or negative.

- Engagement scheduling.

- 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, 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 Flag – Own Something:

Keeping in mind this is Social/Community, 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:

- Helping People is Good Business

- 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. The 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 and Obsessed.

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, advertising will be looked at differently.

... Or, an Ad Agency can just go out and buy Social exposure like any other media purchase.

"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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Facebook Brand Buddies… A Love Story

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Somewhere in our not too distant future Facebook easily broke the 1 billion user barrier.

Although brand involvement remained stable, Facebook acquired some "friends" along the way in the form of shareholders. Mr. Zuckerberg – ever the savvy entrepreneur, felt it time to re-invigorate Facebook’s brand and shareholder relationships with a new and vital product.

Facebook Community – Meet Brand Buddies:

Based on Facebook’s über-rich user data, ads and offers have been served up by brands based on the traditional; such as demographics, age, gender, interests, what “friends” like, and other - all good stuff, but, still in a way general, and, not actually personal, or, based on what you and I really like from the brands we may want to hear from.

Enter Facebook’s potential game-changer: “Brand Buddies.” Brand Buddies takes us a step beyond the brand “Fan” action with its pseudo-personalized ad delivery approach coming along for the ride.

Brand Buddies is much more intimate. It’s all about you – not the brand.  You choose the brands (like you pick a friend) you want to be close buddies with, and, in return, Facebook’s Brand Buddies will give you, and only you, all sorts of fantastic reasons why you would like to be their “Buddy.”

The communal demographic, age, gender, interest, and the other usual suspects targeting approach isn’t the staple for Brand Buddies in its serving of “offers;” what you as person specifically like is. With your permission, a Brand Buddy gets to know you – because, your Brand Buddy will ask. You share with your Buddies the products and things that you like, what you’re interested in, (like giving a friend thoughts on what you may want for your birthday) and, when any of your Brand Buddies has a great offer just for you, they’ll let you know first - before anybody else - the minute the offer happens, just for being a Facebook Brand Buddy.

Brand Buddies is an invitation to the biggest Social Marketing party out there with the ultimate reward for attending and making “friends” through special offers, deals, surprises and exclusives only for you.

As a “Buddy” you opt in easy, add or delete Brand Buddies or opt out just as easily. You can invite your Brand Buddies in on special occasions or deals, holidays, seasons, and other if you want. You come, go, change, share as you please – no muss no fuss. Plus, if you’re not yet inclined to jump on your Brand Buddy’s special offer just received, simply click the “Buddy” icon and save it to your Buddy Bin for later. And, don’t worry - Brand Buddies will give you a few friendly reminders on that offer saved in your Buddy Bin. Oh, and you always have the option to just cancel the whole deal… but, with all the great offers from your Brand Buddies - why would you?

Brand Buddies doesn’t want to waste your time on things that aren’t exciting for you, or, you don’t have an interest in – because that just isn’t how a real-life “buddy” would act.

Brand Buddies desire is to treat you very special - VIP special.

A big part of a brand’s Facebook life revolves around the craving of you being a Fan of theirs. Not so with Facebook Brand Buddies - Brand Buddies craves being a fan of you. And, make no mistake, brands can’t wait to prove that they’re worthy of being your “Buddy.”

Facebook’s Brand Buddies mission is to take its “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected” soul to a deeper place of “digital connectedness:” “Connect with the brands you love so they can love you back with deals, surprises, values, offers, and more - just for  you.”

Optimized for our “mobile” lives, brands, and Facebook shareholders were excited about Brand Buddies’ potential. Ad agencies, well, they’re drooling.

Facebook began rounding up carefully chosen brands and users for “Buddies” beta-testing in both the US and Japan. They had no problem getting testers on either end. Some brands wanted to be a part of the Buddies testing so bad they offered “gratuities.” (But, what can you give a man who has everything.)

Brands are provided a healthy amount of control over their Brand Buddy offer display. For example; a brand could put the text they wanted in the Buy button to make things more fun. Colorization of the offer’s contents or, individual words to match a brand’s logo colors is another option. The Facebook Brand Buddies display and control echoes the mobile experience with the exception of the Buy button, (which just says "Buy" in Mobile) because of the obvious smaller display area.

Brand Buddies sole focus is conversion, and, in more ways than one. And, one of them is presenting brands the opportunity and means to fall more in love with their customers than themselves - with all paths leading to customer conversion, and, a deeper “community” involvement.

Kohl’s, a Buddies beta-tester, was especially captivated by its potential. After all, Kohl’s marketing gurus literally rewrote the book on how to successfully and consistently keep customers coming back for more, which, bordered on its customers becoming Kohl’s “addicts.” So, even at the Brand Buddies beta-testing stage Kohl’s began formulating a plan to incorporate their insanely successful Kohl’s Cash Rewards program along with video into their Brand Buddies marketing strategy.

Yesterday’s marketing masters crafted the “special sauce” template for successful marketing. Now it verged on being reinvented – in "Real-Time Marketing" - the Facebook way.




The Church of Me

Friday, July 8th, 2011

The Church of Me

The Church of Me image by Blackball Online Marketing

The Church of Me Where I Can Worship Myself

We love talking about Facebook, not to discuss the DNA or the atomic structure of a “Like,” or dissecting the value proposition of a “Comment” with a UNIX 8-cylinder engine slide rule, or the square root of a Facebook “Hug.” Oops, Facebook doesn’t do hugs, at least not yet. No, we love talking about FB because it’s just fun.

A nerd comes along, builds a run-of-the-mill simple upload, post, edit and submit Website which acquires the popularity of Star Trek’s “where no man has gone before” mantra, and the rest is history. Not to mention a little luck, like being in the right place at the right time, (remember our bumper sticker post). So, what’s not to talk about?

All I can say is “only in America.” Maybe you kind of see it like this too, but you just don’t want to say, and that’s Cooley and the gang with us - we respect that.  We respect all living creatures, and some dead - what the hell. By the way, how many other nerds are out there, right now, who are writing an app with fingers crossed, hoping it’ll “catch fire” too? Hell, we might be one of them. Nothing could be more American.

But let’s get back to the matter at hand, and what on earth has made Facebook as popular as the Beatles during the UK’s second invasion of America? I’ll tell you what I think it is, and it’s not the FB user interface, and how it does this, that or the other. What I’m seeing is that nobody, but nobody, at least so far, has cast the perception of something being entirely devoted to “me” better than the Facebook guys.

The FB “Like” is genius, it is so very, very human - who doesn’t want to be liked. And who out there that’s on FB so much that they forget to go eat are thrilled to the point of hyper-ventilation when somebody “Likes” them. You just have to post back, because one “Like” is just never enough, and you got a taste – and it’s good.

With over 700 million users itching to be “liked,” it’s no wonder FB has advertisers drooling. But the thing about FB is this; it's all about me - squared, not the advertisers, and not anyone else. FB’s “gift” to us all is the perceived ability to “enshrine” one’s self – Vatican style. Good luck with diverting eyeballs around that. The advertisers are trying though.  But they’re finding it’s doubly tough to break the preoccupation we have from our most alluring and captivating subject - ourselves.

As a side note, here’s what I ponder during meditation in my lotus garden; when will someone come along, and cater to the “all about me” perception better than FB? We all pretty much know it is only a matter of when, not if.

Contact Pittsburgh Social Media Marketing for your small business by Blackball Online Marketing where it's all about you. :)