Social Media

Will Obama’s SoMe tactics and Assets Make it the the White House?

Posted on December 10, 2008. Filed under: Obama, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , |

In a recent keynote address, director of email  and online fund raising, Stephen Greer discussed whether or not President-Elect Obama will be taking their rich email database with them to the White House. My first reaction was  “of course”. Obama was elected on the idea of change, transparency and the inclusion of supporters in promotion, fund raising and the infrastructure of the campaign. How better to keep the momentum going than to get those same people more involved in promoting policy, supporting the administration, educating their neighbors, etc. Kennedy got the whole country behind the Space Race, Roosevelt got the country behind the War (WWII). I dare say that if Obama’s administration really intends to bring change to the government and the country, keeping the troops marching would be key.

Greer makes an interesting point though, if the administration were to carry over their SoMe database, it would now belong to the Federal government, and hence, future administrations. Perhaps this may be a good law to change? I’m certain that every administration would love to keeop their lists close to their chest, and I’m sure most of us on the list of whatever candidate we backed don’t want our info given to the other guy.

One thing is certain though, the Obama administration is thinking very hard on how best to leverage their SoMe assets over the coming 4-8 years. I for one would welcome a social network around the government, what is being mentioned of as WeGov.

What are your thoughts on if and how the Obama Campaign SoMe assets should be used by the Obama Administration?

As an aside: I’m a creative director with 14 years of online and SoMe experience. Dear Obama administration: any openings? How about basing WeGov in Boston? We have some great superstars here, all of whom voted for you…

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<3 Your Brand

Posted on November 11, 2008. Filed under: advertising, consumer marketing, Social Media, Social Network, Twitter, User Generated Content, viral marketing, Web 2.0 | Tags: , , , , , |

I’m reading an article in Fast Company Magazine (Oct. 08 – yes I still like print especially with nice paper covers) about thanking companies you appreciate (I Love You. Now What – Heath & Heath). The gist is that while companies have sunk millions into call centers to smooth the ruffled feathers or complaining customers, there is virtually no way to thank them. They go on to show the positive impact it has on employees of the company, if marketing shares the compliments.

While I could spend the rest of my ride on the T talking about ways that social media could be the medium to share the good will, no one is going to pay me for it, and with a recent layoff, I’m feeling much less gracious with my free marketing advice. The holidays are coming though and we should all be looking at what we’re grateful for, even if we need the Large Hadron Collider to test the theory of the existence of something to be grateful for. With the coming rush of holiday consumerism and travel I thought we should consider Paying it Forward to some of the companies we appreciate. Perhaps @GoodWill and @Karma will get the Tweet and our holiday season won’t be tarnished with bad company-customer interaction. Perhaps customers will be a bit more patient and understanding, and corporate employees will be extra diligent and helpful in their job execution.

So I’m asking readers to think of a company whose products or service they admire or have had a positive interaction with, and give them a shout out. A simple “hey, nice job” is enough. If you want be more expressive, feel free. Use whatever medium you feel comfortable with; post a video to YouTube, write a letter, call the service center, start a Facebook Fan page, post a Tweet (#iLuvBrandX), hug a stockboy!

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Twitterers For Obama

Posted on October 28, 2008. Filed under: advertising, Social Media, Social Network, Twitter, viral marketing, Web 2.0 | Tags: , |

Twitterers For Obama

Twitterers For Obama

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Why A Company Shouldn’t Run It’s Own Social Media

Posted on August 21, 2008. Filed under: Social Media, Social Network, Twitter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

My day job helped launch a new sports league near the beginning of the year. Because of their limited budget, assets, especially access to talent, we made a series of suggestions on how to engage social media to promote the league before the first game was played and the first player was drafted. While we were engaged with them we created a Facebook group, a MySpace page, a Twitter account, and a YouTube Channel. During the first months of the launch we shot a ton of video, interviews with fans, players and league executives as well as town-hall meetings. I Twittered the comments from the town-hall, the interviews, what famous players were stopping by the trade show booth to chat at the various shows where the league was represented. We quickly built a large site for the league that included the videos and links to the social network sites, blogs, etc. Time went on as it often does and the client decided to move. We turned over all of the social media logins, passwords, links etc. to the league to manage.

Because of the hype of the Olympics, sports has been on everyone’s mind, especially the league’s sport since several of the staff in our office played the sport in college. My boss and one of our account execs were streaming the latest event in his office, hooting and hollering at every missed opportunity or great play. I knew exactly what they were watching since I was getting a play-by-play from those I follow on Twitter. I heard the U.S. team one the Gold right before I heard a yell from the other room, apparently the video was buffering!

I instantly jumped over to my former client’s site to see if they had posted anything. I didn’t really expect them to have anything in the can, and figured it’d take them a few minutes to post something on their site. Sure enough, as I write this the posting went up. Excellent, they get about 9 thousand visits a month.

So I bounced back to their Twitter account to see if they had posted anything. Their last post was yesterday. I dropped them a quick note to remind them to post something. I wanted to do a quick search to see how many people were Twittering about the gold medal win. I didn’t have to go far. The front page of Twitscoop showed the sport as one of the top tag clouds, probably around the 6th or 7th most popular (it’s a little hard to tell, using Twitscoop is helpful but not very exact with it’s numbers. So went through with my search to see how many people were talking about the sport. Since this morning there were over 300 Tweets about the competition, that was BEFORE the Gold medal win. I’m literally writing this a few minutes past the win, so you can imagine how much buzz there is at the moment and will be for the rest of the day and week. The spike for comments related to the name of the sport is huge, never mind other terms related to the win.

Twitter Traffic Spike

Twitter Traffic Spike

It’ll be interesting to see what Google trends has to say about the sport in the coming weeks.

All this leads me to the title of the article. Had we or another agency been running the social media engagement for the league, we would have earmarked the possibility of this event as a great time to engage with fans of the sport. We would have had articles ready to go on the site, into the various social network news, status or blogs. We’d be favoriting all of the pirated footage showing up n YouTube later today. We would have been Twittering every play and the news and interviews to follow the big win. The thing that differentiates an agency that is engaged in social media and a company like the league, or just about any other corporate entity, is that we live in social media, on YouTube, Facebook, Bebo, MySpace, Ning, Twitter, Tittr, Mashable, Digg, etc. Not that it’s the fault of a company. Their job is to run their company, it’s an agency be it a marketing agency, PR group, consultant, etc. to know the who, what , when, where, why and how of promoting their clients’ message.

Many colleagues I talk to have the same issue. Because their client has an intern with a Facebook account or their CFO has a MySpace, they think that is all that is needed to be able to appropriately engage the public through social media. It takes more than a copy of Fast Company or Wired and a computer to market using SoMe. This is not a big surprise though. I know plenty of graphic designers, and as one myself, who shudder when clients ask for source files, or decide to tackle graphic design themselves with a student copy of Photoshop. As with SoMe, it takes more than Photoshop to make great, even acceptable, graphic design. You need experience, talent and education to understand hierarchy of information, how to properly use a grid, typography, audience, etc.

This isn’t to say that all companies are void of employees that get SoMe. Some have smartly hired experts in the field, and will hopefully listen to them (Hello, ScottMonty). But certainly the majority of clients who think they’ll take it upon themselves to put some video clips up on YouTube or make the decision themselves that Bebo is a more appropriate point of engagement than Hi5 for their target audience (insert any SoNet in here, you get my point), are doing themselves a disservice.

They say that someone who represents themselves in court has a fool for a client. I’m a little burnt with new business pitches to come up with an appropriate clever line to replace this in regards to PR, marketing, advertising, graphic design, etc. Anyone? Beuller?

p.s. The opinions in this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employer. No proprietary or private information is included and no names were mentioned (except Scott Monty’s) to protect the privacy of those individuals or corporations.

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The Next Internet “Craze”

Posted on August 8, 2008. Filed under: advertising, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , |

A recent post on Flackme.com wonders if Social Media has plateaued and what the next “craze” will be for public relations. I don’t claim to be an expert on PR, but do feel I’m a bit of an expert with online marketing tactics, having begun my career with Notepad, Photoshop 3 and a Prodigy account.

This was my response:

We’re seeing alot of people talking about Social Media being overhyped or just plain over. The thing is, SoMe is not a craze, it is a change in the way people communicate. The Internet was built to share information (anyone remember newsgroups?), for years it has been used by companies to sell TO or market AT consumers or other businesses. The web2.0 trend is the common sense evolution of the Internet. Services such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, vcasts, have allowed users t take control of the medium and decide WHO, WHEN, WHERE and HOW they want to talk WITH others whether they are brands, friends or colleagues.
Calling it a craze or phase, is like calling equal rights a passing fade. It is a change in the mindset of the average person.

As for SoMe reaching a plateau, it’s not even close. Saturation hasn’t even set in, if you look at US user charts. 70% of those that use the Internet at all, use it daily. Only 13% of Internet users visit a SoNet, 11% read a blog, 16% watch a video, and 5% have a blog or upload their pictures.* Not only has usage just begun to grow, but it has just begun to make money.

Currently, companies are struggling to make sense of marketing through SoMe. Many companies don’t get the model that most of us familiar with social media think works. This is a big part of the problem. SoMe behavior is growing and changing at such a rapid pace that it has been difficult for anyone to come up standards of measurement, never mind success. And the concept around SoMe is just that “social”, which means conversation. Most companies and marketers are still looking to develop 2-6 month campaigns, which just don’t work. SoMe is about building relationships, something you can’t do in an elevator pitch, even if it includes widgets, apps, and wallpapers!

The next “craze” for the public relations, advertising/marketing, interactive, etc. is when we all learn how to engage SoMe in a way that will enhance our brand or our client’s brand so that we can monetize it! Most of the comments we see about SoMe being hype, a craze or as having a negative impact on brands, come from the frustration of not “getting it”. Many attempting to engage in SoMe are trying to attack it as they would any other media platform. The difference is that this one is new, and it is a game changer. It’s like trying to learn a non-latin language: it’s not just about the words but a completely different mindset and group of cultural references.

*PEW Internet Trends 7/22/08

By the way, cell phone usage in the U.S. should reach 100% saturation by 2013. It currently stands at 71% according to Forrester Research.

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