Social Media - 8/10 - Digital Marketing Agency

Social Media – Still Too Many Companies Getting it Wrong

By | Social Media | No Comments

Social Media is without question one of todays biggest opportunities online, because not that many companies have yet figured out to harness its power.

Skittles tried to use Twitter in its brave redesign of replacing its home page with its Twitter search stream. This predictably ended in spamming of the term “Skittles”, and the eventual reinstatement of a normal Skittles home page. The Twitter stream is still there though, just a click away on their site, and unsurprisingly, people seem to have gotten sick of the spamming.

Meanwhile, over on Facebook, brands continue to create pages, which is not a bad thing, but it could be done so much better. For example, there are a tonne of  ‘Tesco’ facebook groups out there, all uncoordinated and disjointed. The one which comes top of the list if you search Tesco is unfortunately called “You know you’ve worked too long at Tesco when…” which has over 18k members. The next group down for Tesco has around 3k, and after that each small group has less than 50 members.

This brings me to the first step of creating a social media campaign – You should do your research. Yes it seems obvious, but I think too many companies are in a rush to have a social media presence that they don’t take their time to see what is already out there.  If you are starting out a group on Facebook, take some time to check first if there are groups which you could use as a starting point and build on them. Or maybe there are members of similar groups you could try and attract to your page? Could you have a response page to an existing negative profile? Don’t just build another replica, give it a strategic position in the social media ‘market’.

Secondly you need to have a reason for being on Facebook. You might ask what anyone‘s reason is for being on Facebook? Well, the average person wants to keep in contact with friends and raise awareness of what they themselves are doing. So do that – listen to others and try and contribute in a non-sales, non-spammy way. Build up a friendly, engaging profile. Update it regularly so it stays relevant, and let people know what is going on with your brand. Make sure you are connecting with your audience and letting them know why everything you tell them is relevant to them, not just another press release.

Lastly, you need to be patient, and monitor what goes on. A social media presence is not going to work or seem genuine if you rush or force it. Try and build it up in a natural sense. Sure you can try and attract new visitors quickly with offers, gadgets or applications, but you also need to have other things on site which might hold interest, and make you a worthwhile profile to check back on in the long run.

Oakley for example, has a stand out official page for Oakley, Inc with over 50k fans. On it they showcase designs, new concepts, pics of their office, and classic ads. The problem – the profile was started in April 2008, was added to constantly for one month, and has had no activity since then.  It was obviously flavour of the month (literally) in April last year, but has long since been forgotten. For ongoing benefits, social media strategies need to be sustainable.




Social Media – Still Too Many Companies Getting it Wrong

By | Social Media | No Comments

Social Media is without question one of todays biggest opportunities online, because not that many companies have yet figured out to harness its power.

Skittles tried to use Twitter in its brave redesign of replacing its home page with its Twitter search stream. This predictably ended in spamming of the term “Skittles”, and the eventual reinstatement of a normal Skittles home page. The Twitter stream is still there though, just a click away on their site, and unsurprisingly, people seem to have gotten sick of the spamming.

Meanwhile, over on Facebook, brands continue to create pages, which is not a bad thing, but it could be done so much better. For example, there are a tonne of  ‘Tesco’ facebook groups out there, all uncoordinated and disjointed. The one which comes top of the list if you search Tesco is unfortunately called “You know you’ve worked too long at Tesco when…” which has over 18k members. The next group down for Tesco has around 3k, and after that each small group has less than 50 members.

This brings me to the first step of creating a social media campaign – You should do your research. Yes it seems obvious, but I think too many companies are in a rush to have a social media presence that they don’t take their time to see what is already out there.  If you are starting out a group on Facebook, take some time to check first if there are groups which you could use as a starting point and build on them. Or maybe there are members of similar groups you could try and attract to your page? Could you have a response page to an existing negative profile? Don’t just build another replica, give it a strategic position in the social media ‘market’.

Secondly you need to have a reason for being on Facebook. You might ask what anyone‘s reason is for being on Facebook? Well, the average person wants to keep in contact with friends and raise awareness of what they themselves are doing. So do that – listen to others and try and contribute in a non-sales, non-spammy way. Build up a friendly, engaging profile. Update it regularly so it stays relevant, and let people know what is going on with your brand. Make sure you are connecting with your audience and letting them know why everything you tell them is relevant to them, not just another press release.

Lastly, you need to be patient, and monitor what goes on. A social media presence is not going to work or seem genuine if you rush or force it. Try and build it up in a natural sense. Sure you can try and attract new visitors quickly with offers, gadgets or applications, but you also need to have other things on site which might hold interest, and make you a worthwhile profile to check back on in the long run.

Oakley for example, has a stand out official page for Oakley, Inc with over 50k fans. On it they showcase designs, new concepts, pics of their office, and classic ads. The problem – the profile was started in April 2008, was added to constantly for one month, and has had no activity since then.  It was obviously flavour of the month (literally) in April last year, but has long since been forgotten. For ongoing benefits, social media strategies need to be sustainable.




Advertising Through Twitter

By | Social Media | No Comments

Advertising Age today ran an article about Google syndicating Twitter updates for advertising across their content network. The example being used for this testing is the Twitter stream of a company called Turbo Tax.

After looking at the Twitter stream there, I can understand Search Engine Lands comment that they can’t understand the advertising value of this. The most five recent posts (which is supposedly what Google would be using across their content network) were:

blog-pic2

However, I do think there is a lot of value for companies, for example –

An airline/hotel/theatre company/restaurant/anything that sells tickets, could constantly update their stream with discounts or freebies for undersold tickets.

If you were a specialist in finance, tax, law, etc, then you could do expert Tweet updates (obviously with links to the more comprehensive article/advice)

If you were a fashion label or media company, you could use the Twitter stream for your usual PR plus any deals.

I see a lot of opportunity for this, brands just need to make sure that you are syndicating the useful advertising-based stream, and not your general corporate one, which might contain Twitter updates which are spammy or unnecessary.

Teach Me How to Use Twitter – for $8,000

By | Social Media | No Comments

Birmingham University is introducing a Social Networking Masters Degree, with costs starting at 4,400GBP for the year. The course would teach students how to use Facebook and Twitter for marketing and communications purposes.

Criticism is of course rife, with accusations that it is too basic and teaching stuff that could easily be self taught.  I think there is a place in a marketing degree for a subject on social networking, and how it could be used for marketing purposes, however, a whole year? No wonder it is basic, you would have to stretch it out over 26 weeks.

Add to this the fact that social media is an infant of a subject – it is still evolving at a rapid pace. This time last year no one even knew what Twitter was, and now it is being discussed in lectures? No time left to see if it is a simple flash in the pan? And what about MySpace? That was the social media tool of choice two years ago and has been totally subsumed by Facebook now. If you study for a year in this Masters, would what you learnt even be relevant a week after you graduate?

The convener of the course, Jon Hickman, does not endear himself to me with this quote:

“It’s not for freaks or IT geeks, the tools learnt on this course will be accessible to many people.”

Which is a strange quote, and kind of offensive insinuating that the normal users of Twitter and Facebook are freaks or IT Geeks (and if this was true, what kind of marketing strategy does this guy have in mind?)

I do agree that social media is of use to marketers, business owners, PR people, journalists and other people working in communciations, however, this degree seems akin to a degree in how you can use a telephone. In this day and age, social networking is a basic tool that millions of people are using, and if you can’t use other social media (i.e. blogs, forums, etc), to find out more and teach yourself, then that should be an automatic fail anyway!

A quick search on Twitter is not showing any support for the idea of a social media degree. With comments like “I thought my degree in PR was bad”.

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