It started with new media and Twitter. It will end with the publication of a old-media magazine.
That is roughly the path that Kent Huffman used to put together a new content and networking source for social media marketing professionals, Social Media Marketing Magazine. Huffman, whose day job is chief marketing officer for BearCom Wireless, is releasing the fifth issue of SMM Magazine, and he talks to SplashCast host Renay San Miguel about the magazine (always available online, with a print edition coming soon) and the trends he sees dominating online marketing in 2011.
You know that any entertainment blog that advertises itself as “scathing reviews for bitchy people” is going to be positively dripping with attitude. Pajiba.com is all that and more, featuring bloggers writing sharp, knowledgeable reviews of movies, TV shows and books while loudly playing up the fact it accepts no press junkets, giveaways or visits to film/TV sets.
Dustin Rowles is Pajiba’s publisher and co-owner. With the summer blockbuster movie season now upon us, Splash Media wanted to get his review of Hollywood’s social media marketing efforts. Rowles says it’s been hit and miss so far, with some of the Facebook games and interactive websites getting a big thumbs down. He cites last summer’s Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz spy comedy “Knight and Day” as an example.
“A lot of the intentional attempts to create viral videos are cheesy, like your mother joining Twitter,” Rowles said. “The great thing about social media is that, while the studios can blitz campaigns on TV and print, and even splash display advertising all over the Internet, it’s harder to manufacture buzz on social networks – users see through it. On social networks, users want to share and retweet things that are cool, because in a way, they’re personally identifying themselves with it, and no one wants to spread lame chain mail. “
Rowles did give Hollywood some props for plying movie blogs that have “cultural capital” with exclusive content as a way to use influential intermediaries – even if the results have been shaky. “I’ve yet to see a movie blog criticize a poster or trailer that they were given exclusive access to,” he says. Movies like “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,” “Kick Ass,” “Paul” and “Observe and Report” were championed by certain movie blogs but all ended up failing at the box office.
Rowles’ advice for studios that want to be effective with social media can be applied to any business: be human, authentic, original. “I don’t personally pay much attention to the Facebook and Twitter accounts of studios or movies, as they do little but shill for their films,” he said. “But occasionally one of the movie or studio accounts will work if you get the sense that there’s an actual person with a sense of humor and an opinion behind the accounts. But mostly, it just feels like following a studio or movie on Twitter is like signing up for a mailing list.”
You can read the first part of “Social Media Marketing Meets Hollywood” here.
The Daily Beast’s Dan Lyons discovered that it was Mark Zuckerberg’s social network that had hired a respected PR firm to try and convince both an influential blogger and USA Today to write nasty things about Social Circle, a Google email feature.
So – why should small businesses care about a sordid episode reeking of corporate dirty tricks?
* It one more bit of proof that social media has arrived as a valuable communications platform. As a public relations professional told the BBC this week, “I think people forget that business is war and the most competitive medium right now is social media.”
* Google vs. Facebook is now the big technology rivalry. (Apple vs. Microsoft? So early 21st-century.) All small businesses want to rank high in Google search results. Google is incorporating more social media recommendations and “likes” in those results. Facebook wants to refine its services for its 600 million members – including all those business pages – and is obviously feeling threatened by Google.
Need we say more? Google and Facebook are major components of any company’s social media marketing strategy. The two are obviously now at war. But there’s a likely peace dividend for small businesses: new features and services targeting their needs, as the tech giants battle it out for eyeballs and users.
Rest assured that Splash Media will bring you the latest dispatches from that fight. In the meantime, some other headlines from the week:
Content Is Key, But Supporting It Will Unlock Success
Author/consultant Rebecca Lieb asks the question on the iMedia Connection blog: whose job is it within a company to run the content strategy? Her take is that if you’re publishing content for marketing, make sure you have the best people – and enough people – to do it right. Some great success stories – including a B2B best practice example – are included.
A Facebook Page Primer For Businesses
Former Apple guru and Alltop.com founder Guy Kawasaki uses lessons gleaned from his new book, Enchantment, to show how businesses can boost their Facebook presence with content and conversation.
How The Rich Use Social Media
Businesses offering luxury/high-end items and services, take note: eMarketer has the findings of an Aflluence Collaborative survey showing how wealthy consumers are engaging with brands on social networks.
What about you? Any news headlines from the week catch your eye? You won’t need to hire a PR firm to plant a story with us; just jot your own thoughts down in the Comments section below. And have a great weekend!
A tweet from @SplashmediaLP prompted this week’s SplashCast. The tweet noted that every day, 46 years’ worth of YouTube video is watched on Facebook. That’s 46 years.
There is no more telling statistic about how social media and video are merging. The rise of social media video has major implications for marketing and small/mid-size businesses who need to tell their stories on a variety of platforms – not only on their websites or YouTube pages, but on their Facebook pages as well.
Splash Media chief learning officer Paul Slack joins SplashCast host Renay San Miguel to talk about the way businesses are now using video on their social media platforms, and how Facebook and YouTube are changing the way we process video-driven information.
When you were young, what do you remember about the way movies were marketed? A poster at your local theater? A trailer on the big screen showing previews of coming attractions? Did you pay attention to the projected box office totals or critics reviews? Did you watch coverage of the movie’s red carpet premiere?
Movie fans know that the way films are marketed has changed over the years – and social media is playing a starring role in the latest changes. The lesson for all kinds of businesses? How to leverage the power of recommendations.
Example: last week Splash Media staff member Lauren Parajon entered a Facebook contest for a sneak preview of “Bridesmaids.” The contest asked participants to send in pictures of themselves in their worst bridesmaid gowns. Dallas promotions company Moroch Movies sponsored the event and hosted 30 bridesmaids at the Angelika Theater at Mockingbird Station, where they were treated to a sparkling cider toast before the screening.
“Bridesmaids” opens in widescreen release May 13. And while the film has a traditional marketing campaign that features the usual TV and print ads, using a social media contest can generate a person-to-person buzz about a film. It can also take advantage of the way people recommend movies to friends: when the theater lights went up after “Bridesmaids” credits rolled, the audience immediately started texting, tweeting and posting Facebook statuses about the movie on their smartphones. Instead of a commercial advertising the film, “Bridesmaids” now had valuable real-time endorsements from several lovely ladies in chiffon.
It is too soon to tell if this strategy will help make “Bridesmaids” number one at the box office during its opening weekend. But Hollywood loves a sequel – and not just when it comes to successful movie ideas. “Paranormal Activity,” released in 2009 and considered to be the most profitable film in history, had no ads in traditional media or major movie stars promoting the film when it first opened in limited release. Using Twitter and Facebook pages to plan midnight screenings targeting college-age audiences, and a web-based campaign that allowed horror movie buffs to “demand” that the movie play in their town, the film quickly generated enough buzz for a wide release. The result? “Paranormal Activity”- made for less than $15,000- grossed over $108 million at the box office in 2009 and spawned a successful sequel.
Despite these recent campaigns, Hollywood is still slow to grasp the impact of social media. There is no doubt that the way audiences interact and communicate with each other has fundamentally changed. A-list critics no longer have the influence they once had as filmgoers refer to movie blogs like Pajiba or Twitter to find out if they should see a film or not. Yet big studios still pour money into traditional marketing, even as constant word-of-mouth proves to be much more effective and valuable.
Consider this: Think of the last movie you went to see in a theater. Did you see it because of an advertisement – or because someone suggested it through social media? And how can that concept with your particular business?
Besides racking up the frequent flyer miles, John Larsen is gaining another benefit from our Splash Media Social Media for CEOs Boot Camps: he’s becoming a sounding board for small business executives all over the country who have lots of questions about how Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube videos and blog posts can help with their marketing strategies.
Larsen, Splash’s national social media instructor, leads one of our two Boot Camp teams as they travel to cities like Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver. He’s hearing from company leaders and entrepreneurs from a wide range of industries – business-to-consumer and business-to-business – and he’s listening as they describe their business models and wonder how social media can help generate leads and boost customer service.
Here are the top questions Larsen gets while on the road, and how he answers them:
* Will social media work for my business? We’re unique. – “Whether you’re selling a product/service or raising awareness/contributions for a worthy cause, social media will allow you to effectively reach out and build community with your target audience,” Larsen says. “The first step is to define your goals and objectives, then enter the world of social media and begin to measure your results. Only then you can start the refinement process. Through a well-defined strategy that continually learns your network and makes the necessary changes to stay on course – and adapts to changes that are inevitable – you’ll leverage this media and move forward. It doesn’t matter what type of business you run.”
* Is my target audience using social media? – “YES! Regardless of who your target audience is, that demographic has a presence on social media. Most people assume social media is made up of teenagers playing Farmville after school. But when you examine the numbers and really look at who is out there, 62 percent of the people in social media are between the ages of 25-54. That’s probably the demographic for your current and prospective customers. And the fastest growing demographic is people 55 and older. As social media works its way up the food chain, it’s going to become more and more relevant in all our lives.”
If you run a small/mid-sized business, what’s on your mind regarding social media and your company’s goals? Please share in the comments section!
The National Retail Federation says $16 billions dollars is expected to be spent this Mother’s Day on gifts for the woman who carried you for nine months, cooked your meals, dried your tears, laughed at your stupid knock-knock jokes and lost hours of sleep worrying about you on prom night. Yet thanks to Facebook, there’s a much more economical way – and dare we say, more sincere way – to honor Mom this weekend.
Those with Facebook accounts may have noticed that some friends are using pictures of their mothers as their FB profile photo this week. There will no doubt be more thank-you’s on Sunday, which is only fitting; these days many grandmoms separated by thousands of miles from their now-grown children are regularly checking Facebook pages to see real-time photos and videos of grandkids rather than waiting on e-mailed pics or holiday visits.
It is more proof that social media is transforming American life. Here are some other ways that technology and social media is serving as the mother of invention when it comes to new marketing tactics for small businesses:
Getting In Touch with Social Media’s Feminine Side
It makes sense that on this weekend for celebrating moms, a new survey offers more insight into how women are influencing others and sharing news and opinions on social media. The eMarketer story quotes results from an AOL/Bovitz Research report that provides several nuggets of gold for interactive marketers to mine when it comes to targeting women for products and services.
Selling Social Media Marketing – To Your Sales Staff
David Clarke, co-founder of interactive marketing agency BGT Partners, has a post on Advertising Age unlocking a little-known secret for chief marketing officers: a company’s sales staff can help sell your company’s social media marketing initiatives to current and prospective customers. All they need is the opportunity – and access to your content, of course.
How Converse Is Running Ahead Of The Pack On Facebook
Mashable’s Todd Wasserman has a great q-and-a with Converse chief marketing officer Geoff Cottrill about the sneaker company’s social media strategy – in particular, the success it is enjoying on Facebook with its 15 million fans. Converse may be a large company but its use of social media offers valuable lessons for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to start conversations with their customers.
It’s your turn: did you see any interesting stories regarding social media marketing this week? Please share in the comments section below. Also, have a great weekend – and call your mom (or post a tribute to her on Facebook).
Late in 2010, one of the world’s major computer makers flipped a switch on its new Social Media Listening Command Center. it is now how Dell Computer monitors thousands of conversations worldwide about its brand on various social media networks. Michelle Brigman, the center’s director, talks to SplashCast host Renay San Miguel about the inner workings of Dell’s social media strategy and how the Center has helped her company boost customer service.
In this ultra-competitive business environment, it’s easy to get caught up in the social media marketing race going on between companies. But the businesses having the most success are those that are getting to know their customers in very personal, unique ways. We’re not talking about those brands that are pretending to connect with customers; this is about those having actual one-on-one conversations.
Bringing Social Back: An Example
Recently we heard about a woman who purchased a can of soda. As soon as she had finished pouring the drink into a glass, she heard rattling inside of the can. When she tipped the can upside down, she was shocked to see a piece of rusted metal fall out. She immediately went on Facebook and Twitter with her complaints. Within seconds of her tweet going public, the soda company had issued a personal apology, made a phone call and responded to her email.
Obviously, one can argue that the soda company moved at lightspeed to deal with a negative issue. What about the positive ones? Many times we have heard of companies like Zappos replying to posted Facebook messages from customers, asking about their families or even their pets.
Yet personalization can go far beyond a Facebook wall.
How To Bring Social Back With Your Company
Here are a few things that your social media marketing campaign should be doing to ensure client success:
- Listen to your audience – Be open to your audience’s suggestions and comments on social networking, and listen as if they were right in front of you.
- Talk, but get your audience to talk back – When you reply, don’t make it all about the fact that you’ve replied; engage the customer in conversation. Mention specific details about what they wrote and call back some of their points into the mix so that they understand this is truly not a one-sided conversation. One way to put this into practice is with a Twitter Q-and-A session. You can set one up and announce it on your Facebook page.
- Recognize the audience for sharing – Tweet something nice about the person you’ve been talking to via social media. Acknowledge the fact that they shared something about the company, and thank them.
It’s the little things in your social media marketing campaign that can produce big results for your company. Personal conversations with your customers – putting the social back in social media – will ensure that your brand is well represented online, and that positive energy is sure to go viral.
(Photo courtesy of Brian Solis.)
Those businesses that still doubt social media’s impact on how we communicate should consider the following data points regarding Sunday’s big news about Osama bin Laden:
* He didn’t know it at the time, but an information technology professional who lived near bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, provided real-time coverage on Twitter of the Navy Seal raid that ended in the terrorist leader’s death.
* At 10:25 p.m. EST, a former staffer for Donald Rumsfeld breaks the news – on Twitter: “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.”
* During President Obama’s speech to the nation reporting the news, Twitter was experiencing more than 4,000 tweets per second.
* The first of several Facebook pages devoted to bin Laden’s death quickly racked up 145,000 “likes.”
* A quick poll conducted late Sunday night by Mashable found that 40 percent of those surveyed said they first learned of bin Laden’s death on Twitter – more than TV, phone calls or instant messaging.
Matt Rosoff, writing in Business Insider, said Twitter’s role in spreading the news was akin to CNN’s mainstream breakthrough following the first Gulf War in 1990.
But social media’s overall impact in this case isn’t limited to its role as a new conduit for information. Sure, Twitter and Facebook were used to pass along the latest updates as friends began curating information for other friends. Yet the two social media networks also instantly became raucous mashups of town hall meetings, corner bars and radio call-in shows. Americans who had waited nearly 10 years for this news unloaded a wide range of emotions in real-time tweets and status updates – renewed anger and sorrow from 9/11, thanks for armed forces and intelligence services, politically-themed debates, speculation over next steps/possible retaliation, and humor in the form of jokes, Photoshopped images and remixed YouTube videos.
Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, has an extraordinary account of how technology and Google have transformed the search for news since Sept. 11, 2001 – and how that thirst for news has changed them as well.
Social media may indeed morph into something else in the years to come, but right now it is democratizing our communications. Social media has enabled news-on-demand, whether that news is about a terrorist leader’s demise or about a new product or service from your company. There’s power in that online conversation – because that’s where the audience/customer now expects to be informed.