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Archive for June, 2011

Heard on the Streets Part 2: How To Do Social Media Marketing

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

OMMA Social was already a week ago today, but the resulting insight continues to float around in the ether. Continuing on with yesterday’s recap of the Top 5 gems of social media marketing, as Heard on the Street at OMMA Social Internet Week New York last week…

3) “…you gotta get local!…”

Marketers know how important it is to reach customers at a truly local level- especially in retail, consumer goods, automotive, restaurants, etc. Digital and social media tools increasingly make this easier and more effective than ever. Integrating mobile features like check-in or real-time coupons is one effective means to the local end. Another is to simply design promotions that are targeted to local audiences. Taste of Dallas did just that to promote its 25th Annual festival, launching the Taste of Talent video contest the taps submissions from North Texas performers for a chance to win cash prizes and an opportunity to perform live at the July 8-10 event

4) “…Create a Destination & Host a Conversation…”

ong before social media, brands did their best to create a single destination on the web, a primary presence for attracting and retaining users. While e-commerce rapidly evolved, though, there was rarely anything inherently sticky (memorable, worthy of a return trip) about even the best company website. Enter social media and Facebook. Even companies that are coming late to the social media party understand: it’s not nearly enough to set up a basic Facebook page. The best brands motivate their visitors to return and participate in an ongoing discussion. SpikeTV gives MMA fans plenty of reasons to return with The Ultimate Fighter’s Facebook destination. Set as the default tab on the show’s Facebook page, this tab illustrates how video, comments, Twitter feeds and polls are great examples of content that engages users for longer and repeat visits.

5) “…Be Authentic…”

Probably the most repeated mantra of all social gatherings at Internet Week - from technologists demoing their latest tools to  brands sharing success stories to comedians talking about building loyal fan bases on Twitter - was “be authentic.” For brands, this means, among others, addressing the audience directly and with a level of (in)formality and transparency that matches the venue. On Twitter and Facebook, talking 1-to-1 with fans, responding to questions or comments, and dealing with critique are all part of it. In these social channels, brands simply can’t fake their way through a marketing campaign. Users are far too savvy. In general, the audience is okay with being marketed to if it’s not disruptive to how they are otherwise using the channel. And if it’s authentic. There’s no substitute.

The National Australia Bank Group (NAB) is a major sponsor of the Australian Football League, and a Melbourne-based banking business  in a community full of AFL fans. So when NAB launches a contest dubbed NAB Commentator- asking Facebook users to record audio commentary for memorable AFL moments - it uses the authentic voice of a sports fan (vs. a staid financial institution) to address the crowd, entice entries and activate the audience. Beautifully written and inviting- and the reward is authentic as it gets (an opportunity to call a quarter of AFL action and also attend the league championship.) Nothing could be more appealing to a fan.

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Heard on the Streets Part 1: How To Do Social Media Marketing

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

If you’re like us and made the near-cross country trek last week to join the citywide festivities at Internet Week New York, your head was still spinning into the weekend from the abundant content, impassioned speakers and spirited meet-ups that marked the 4th annual Manhattan pilgrimage for thousands of laptop-toting, mobile checking-in, tsotchke-collecting, iced coffee-swilling, sweltering heat suffering, blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking mavens of the digital realm.

While our schedule was jammed from jackhammer-on-10th Avenue sunrise through OMMA Social on Thursday (which we proudly sponsored) to rooftop-party sundown, we had time to take note of certain recurring themes  that strike us as shareable. With a heavy nod toward social media promotions, and generous paraphrasing, here are 5 gems on doing social just right, as heard on the streets last week in New York.

(Note: So good was the word-on-the-street that we’ll break it up over two days…)

1) “…Roll out the welcome mat…”

Not simply because new users are visiting your microsite, reading your Twitter feed or logging on to your Facebook page for the first time should you spend an inordinate amount of time on your landing page . It’s been the rule of the internet for almost two decades, and the same now applies to your social media presence. Carefully design and test any destination page to your sites or microsites. Nail the description on your Twitter home. And on Facebook, invest in great tabs.  It may be the difference between a quick bounce and a return visitor, but more important, it’s as much a representation of your brand as your logo, your ad on TV, or your booth at the trade show. See an example in the home tab for Craftsman’s Finding American Treasures photo contest landing tab on Facebook. It’s visually striking, to the point, and an authentic homage to the timeless tool brand.

2) “…Define your audience…”

Know your audience…target your audience…understand your audience…cultivate your audience…  You’ve heard it so much  that it’s almost cliche.  But it could never be more true.  Social media is not mass media, despite the opportunity to reach a vast audience.  Every component of a social channel can be geared to a carefully defined audience.  The narrower the target, the more interactive their response will be. Great promotions- like great brands- don’t try to be all things to all people. This theme comes up repeatedly in a forum like OMMA Social- so much so that we can break it down further:

(part 1): Address an Affinity

Identify the affinities- professional interests, personal passions- that unite your audience and center your social media efforts on them. We are not all drummers even though we all may wish we could channel an inner John Bonham. But percussion & music publishing brands Mapex, Remo, Zildjian, Vic Firth and Alfred didn’t worry about targeting the whole universe when they launched the Drummer of Tomorrow user-generated video contest. They simply targeted the whole universe of drummers with a relevant call-to-action (and extremely relevant prizes).  The reaction from the community has been a robust and heart-pounding flood of entries from drummers laying down their beats over the downloadable soundtracks.

(part 2): Multiple Channels for Multiple Audiences


Not all customers share the same perspective.  Hopefully they all end up at the same cash register or check out page, but they arrive at your brand with very different attitudes and motivations.  Whichever audiences you are pursuing, interact with them uniquely.  Case in point: not only is  Mercury Marine’s Mercury Film Festival a well-integrated user-generated video contest microsite (with complimentary coverage on the brand’s homepage) and again, great prizes for entrants; the “celebration of all things marine” also offers a sweepstakes with additional prizes for the voters, the company’s partners and dealers, and even its employees.  These other parties- not typically eligible for an open contest- are often the best advocates for spreading the word. Mercury Marine is giving all segments of the audience their due in this contest.

Tune in tomorrow for Part II of Heard on the Streets in New York: How To Do Social Media Marketing

Further reading: SmartBrief just published a follow-up Internet Week / Social Media recap written by Heidi Cohen of Riverside Marketing Strategies.

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Votigo at OMMA Social and LikeableU Thursday

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

With Internet Week New York (#IWNY) off to a stellar, if scorching, start in Manhattan, Votigo has been soaking up the social media-packed agenda - a diverse range of digital topics ranging from mobile and video to how comedians like Michael Ian Black (among others) build an audience and advance their art form in social media.

Tomorrow we get hands-on at two Thursday events:

Check out Votigo president and co-founder Jim Risner as he joins Likeable Media CEO Dave Kerpen and other social media marketing technology leaders on a panel at LikeableU. The panel drops Thursday at 10am at the brand new Yotel at 570 10th Avenue. Registration is here and the event is in conjunction with the launch of Kerpen’s soon-to-be-bestseller, likeable social media.

Meanwhile Votigo will be at OMMA Social the entire day- from the early hours through the keynote by Bryan Perez, Senior VP/General Manager, NBA Digital, to the final panel - included two much-needed coffee breaks we’re hosting. Votigo VP of Business Development Mark Hodson and others will be on hand; we hope to see you there.



Drop us a note here or here (twitter.com/votigo) if you’re going to be at either event.  We’ll see you there and we’ll save an (iced?) coffee for you.

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An Upfront Mentality: 3 Annual Pillars for Social Media Promotions

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

In the hustle of a shortened holiday Memorial Day week, it can be hard enough to find Inbox Zero, let alone think strategically about maximizing your social media presence for the rest of the year. And given that it’s nearly 90 degrees on an early June day in Boulder, it may seem an unnatural time to think ahead to the holidays. But today we encourage you to do just that.

Building an audience of passionate, loyal, active customers on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels, as you know, is an evolving effort that takes an investment of time. Gone are the days of hastily throwing together a Facebook page and expecting users to find you; of waiting for the end of the year to scrum for leftover/experimental ad budget to spend on last minute ads; of being confident that merely reposting your latest products/services on Facebook is the best you can do.

It takes time to launch an effective social media promotional campaign - a contest or sweepstakes, for example, that expands your audience, brings followers closer to your brand and finds new customers, too.  Crafting creative that delivers a high-impact brand message. Customizing the design to fit your brand and all platforms. Adhering to the regulations of the social media channels and various locales you’ll launch in. Integrating a well-designed campaign across media- social and traditional.

Yes, it can be done incredibly fast, especially in partnership with a savvy partner. But why leave it to the last minute to do something spectacular?

This year we propose taking an Upfront Mentality to your social media promotions. Think of planning your social media marketing like TV ad buyers think of their budgets: They look at the calendar, see what program pillars are going to drive eyeballs to the hottest new shoes, and allocate their investments accordingly. They even have big fancy preview events to celebrate the practice. And they invest heavily in upfronts.

Especially if you’re a retailer,  consumer goods or services brand, think about tethering your social media promotions to the signature consumer events of the year.  Here are 3 ideas for Upfront-style events that, like next season’s TV schedule to a broadcast planner, can be the pillars of your Social Media Upfronts calendar.

  1. Father’s Day: While it’s all but too late to get in on the paternal celebration- which doubles as the unofficial start of America’s grilling/camping/boating/outdoor fun season- Dad’s Day is a great illustrator of an event that generates a targeted, promotions-oriented audience. (Mother’s Day is no slouch as a retail bonanza, either. Next year!) Brands like Nautica get the appeal of this special mid-June date and tailor their promotions accordingly. Nautica’s Faces of Father’s Day Contest - submissions are due Friday- is just one example.
  2. Back to School: Don’t tell the kids, who are just now singing School’s Out for Summer, but retailers are deep into planning for the 2nd biggest commerce season of the year, the magical window of July and  August that long ago transcended paper and pencils and became a $21B+ family shopping spree. Given that consumers have more options than ever, and that the lead time to plan a killer Back-To-School promotion is an ideal 6-8 weeks as of today, why not lock in this annual rite as the first big pillar of your Social Media Upfronts schedule?
  3. Black Friday and Cyber Monday: The traditional red-letter date on the annual retail calendar- and its relatively modern digital cousin- continue their reign as the focal point of the retail promotions year.  Allow your brand the next few months to do it right in 2011: figure out what you’re going to promote, design the quintessentially engaging social media campaign, and participate in a shoppers holiday worth nearly $11B on the Friday after Thanksgiving alone.

Scary as it is, the holidays will be here before we know it.  As social media auteur Brian Solis is known to say, “the reality is that you get out of social media what you invest in it.” Even in the dynamic, rapid-consumption environments of the social web, it is worth investing the time to design an incredible social media promotion.

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