SplashCast From The Past: SpyderLynk’s SnapTags Make Mobile Marketing Crackle And Pop

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The Denver-based mobile marketing company SpyderLynk has spun quite a web of activity since Splash Media interviewed CEO Nicole Skogg in August 2011.

The company’s chief products – SnapTags and Social SnapTags – are QR codes on steroids: they allow marketers to embed barcodes into logos and social media icons, thereby taking interactive marketing to another level. That technology has proved attractive in terms of new projects and partnerships for SpyderLynk, according to an update email Skogg sent Splash Media:

  • In perhaps the most important development for SpyderLynk, the U.S. Patent Office has approved a patent for SpyderLynk’s SnapTag technology. “Our solution is now officially recognized for its unique value and as a key differentiator in the marketplace,” Skogg told Splash Media. “We’re delighted to reach this next step in our business evolution.”
  • SpyderLynk’s new Snap-To-Buy technology – shoot a SnapTag to instantly buy a product – is such an attractive option for mobile e-commerce that Glamour Magazine partnered with Skogg’s company for a couple of special projects. Glamour has also used Social SnapTags.
  • Bestselling author Jeffrey Hazlett used SnapTags at the beginning of each chapter of his new book “Running The Gauntlet” as a way to expand content offerings for readers.
  • Just a sampling of SnapTags’ major brand partnerships: Wrigley, Office Depot, Casa Noble Tequila, Bud Light, Coke Zero, Toyota.
  • Skogg and SpyderLynk continue to rack up major speaking engagements and awards. Skogg will be presenting at the Mobile Marketing Association Forum NYC event in June and just spoke at the Ad: Tech conference in San Francisco in April. She was also named to the Producers Guild of America’s 2011 “Digital 25″ list, joining the like of Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys.

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Social Media and Customer Service: An Update On “United Breaks Guitars” and Dave Carroll

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George Harrison’s guitar may have gently wept, but it was Dave Carroll’s $3500 Taylor six-string that wailed the loudest.

United Breaks Guitars

United Breaks Guitars: A lesson in Social Media and Customer Service

The result was one of the best-know instances of a consumer using social media to level the playing field with a large company. But that broken guitar also changed Dave’s life, and his forthcoming book about his experiences, “United Breaks Guitars”  has a subtitle that provides a musical lesson of sorts for companies of all sizes: “The Power Of One Voice In The Age Of Social Media.”

The story has been told many times in the social media marketing blogosphere, and there are great details in David Meerman Scott’s latest book, “Real-Time Marketing and PR.” The short version: back in 2008, Dave and his band were flying United Airlines from Nova Scotia to Omaha. They had checked their guitars in baggage. When they changed planes at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, they noticed the ground crew carelessly tossing their guitars around. His Taylor was badly damaged. When he complained, United not only took its time responding, but ultimately refused to pay for the damage.

So Dave wrote a humorous protest song, “United Breaks Guitars” and shot a YouTube for it. In less than a week, the video registered millions of views with the help of bloggers. It hit another level of publicity as Dave’s story hit the mainstream media. Dave not only got a new guitar from Taylor Guitars, he got a model of guitar named after him, and United ultimately apologized – but not before learning a harsh lesson on what YouTube can accomplish in the hands of an irate, albeit musically-gifted, customer.

United now uses “United Breaks Guitars” in its customer service training. Dave now uses “United Breaks Guitars” as the basis for an additional career as a consumer advocate. He is a co-founder of Gripevine.com, a website that aims to make it easier for customers to vent their complaints, and also attempts to help companies become more transparent and respond faster to those gripes. And his first book comes out in mid-May, featuring a forward from noted Forrester Research social media analyst Josh Bernoff.

“United Breaks Guitars” happened three years ago. What grade would Dave give corporate America in 2012 on its use of social media to resolve customer service issues?

“I think that embracing social media is a process just underway,” he told me in an email, “but as more companies accept that social media is here to stay, that consumers have the ability to expose poor products or services, and that brands are co-created more than ever, their grades will rise. The companies that hold onto old paradigms and don’t change will become irrelevant and disappear, I believe.

“Opening up a Facebook page and Twitter account is the tip of the iceberg. There are still many large corporations holding onto the antiquated notion that they can still control the conversation about their brand when in actuality, social media dictates that leading the conversation is the new reality in brand management.”

Gripevine is helping moderate that conversation. Carroll said the site is exceeding his expectations, given that it’s only two months old; more than 25,000 visitors a month stay for more than 7 minutes at a time, and more than 500 consumers have opened accounts. But perhaps more importantly, more than 100 companies, including some Fortune 1000 brands like Coca-Cola and Verizon, are participating in Gripevine’s Resolution Platform which monitors social media conversations.

“What makes us unique for businesses is the ability to engage offline with customers as opposed to having to engage on a message board, and companies like that,” Carroll writes. “What I’m most proud about Gripevine is our goal of solving problems between consumers and companies, as opposed to helping people bash companies, or aid companies in avoiding taking responsibility for bad service.  We don’t choose sides in a confrontation.  We choose to see conflict as something negative and resolving conflict as a win-win for both consumers and companies.”

Small and large companies would do well to reacquaint themselves with “United Breaks Guitars.” It might help them from singing their own version of the customer service blues.

Are you familiar with “United Breaks Guitars?” How well do you think major brands are doing in their use of social media to right customer service mistakes? Let us know in our Comments section.

Renay San Miguel is the Chief Content Officer at Splash Media and On-Air Talent and Host with Spark360.tv. You can find him on Twitter @PrimoMedia. Click here to see all of Renay’s blog posts

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Social Media Strategy | Enjoying Pauses and Avoiding Burnout

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Social Media: We practice it. We preach it. We live it. We can’t live without it.

Avoiding Burnout at Splash Media

Avoiding Burnout at Splash Media

So, at what point do we step away from our computer, our mobile devices and our beloved technology to take a breather from this culture of isolated togetherness? More so, why aren’t more social media professionals planning for downtime within their overall social media strategy?

This morning, as I was browsing Twitter feeds and blogs, I ran across an article that referenced a new era of “Social Media 2.0.” Are we really moving that fast? Should we be categorizing the next phase in social media this quickly? I admit, here at Splash Media, we survive by the motto, “Have an outrageous sense of urgency.” And we should. Within each day, hour and minute, social media is evolving faster and in more ways than we could possibly embrace if we didn’t exhibit a heightened sense of real-time awareness.

Let’s pause for a moment. Close your eyes and count to ten.

How did that feel? Refreshing? Scary? Be honest: did you take a moment to pause?

In order to have a truly successful social media strategy, you need to plan for the pause. No, I’m not suggesting you shut down your business’ Facebook or Twitter accounts for an extended period of time and go AWOL. What I am suggesting, however, requires stepping out of the digital comfort zone and embracing these helpful (and healthy) tips that social media managers should practice to avoid burnout.

      1. Schedule your postings well in advance. Set yourself up with some type of auto-publishing software or social media management tool. Use these tools to free up your time to collaborate with colleagues at work, or even to converse with your (gasp!) beloved boss. Building relationships offline is equally as important–if not more so–as building them online.
      2. Avoid connecting your social media business profiles to your smartphone. For about three months I was keeping up with my clients’ accounts on the weekends and after hours. That’s when I realized I was failing to separate my mind from my work. I absolutely love my clients – and they love me more when I take time to refresh and take care of myself.
      3. Manage your calendar, not just your checklist. Denote certain times during the day, and for defined durations, for when you’re going to engage on social media. Setting limits will not only keep you focused, it will also maximize your bandwidth to achieve your marketing goals. Besides, everyone respects those who exhibit savvy time management skills.
      4. Focus on the fundamentals. Just because social is the new marketing medium doesn’t mean that some of the older, more traditional marketing essentials are no longer effective. A/B test each campaign, tweet, and post to determine the social broadcasting that works for your business. Once you’ve determined what winning looks like, focus on it. Eventually, “winning” will come naturally, freeing up that precious mental matter between the ears to spark more strategic, creative brilliance, rather than drowning in task-oriented thoughtless marketing.
      5. Take breaks by yourself. Constant Contact isn’t just a company name—it’s a way of life. Give yourself the gift of freedom to be alone with your thoughts. Opinions of others fly freely through the feeds of social platforms each second. Remove the white noise, get in touch with your thoughts, and free yourself from the stimulus of constant contact before you reach a desensitized state.
      6. Allow yourself one weekend each month where you avoid posting on personal social platforms. Trust me, it’s OK not to check-in on FourSquare everywhere you go. In fact, after taking a couple days off, your friends and followers will be happy and excited to welcome you back.
      7. Embrace “no.” While posting or tweeting is a relatively quick process, the heavy lifting to get there requires real work. The heavy lifting is what we as social media managers are PAID to do. So, to reemphasize point No. 2 above, learn when to discern the appropriate moments to say “no” to work that eats into your personal time. Don’t add more work to your plate than you can handle. Turn “no” into a positive response by showing value in yourself, value in your time and value in your work.

Live a well-balanced life, exercise moderation, and avoid burnout by weaving pauses into your social media strategy.

 

Holly is a Splash Media Social Media Manager and On-Air Talent for Splash Media U. Tweet her now @HollyRountree and keep up with her Helpdesk column by reading all of Holly’s blog posts.

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SplashCast From The Past: At Southwest Airlines, Social Media Flies Free

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Splash Media presents another social media marketing SplashCast From The Past; this edition was originally published in November 2010 and features Christi McNeill with Southwest Airlines in an interview with SplashCast host Renay San Miguel.

McNeill talks about the beginnings of Southwest’s social media strategy, which platforms the airline relies upon for different aspects of customer engagement/customer service, and how her company uses its social networks to handle everything from day-to-day notifications to public relations issues like the Kevin Smith “too fat to fly” situation.

UPDATE: McNeill tells Splash Media that since the SplashCast was published, Southwest Airlines’ social media team has grown to 10 members, including representatives from the company’s communications, marketing and customer relations divisions. “Our customer relations team is managing customer inquiries and issues online, and our communications and marketing teams are collaborating on the next evolution of social business at Southwest,” McNeill said. “We’ve added a few new platforms for engagement including Instagram, Pinterest and Viddy.”

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media For Small Businesses: Another Argument For CEOs To Blog And Tweet

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For business leaders in these post-Great Recession times, it’s not enough to be consumed with building a company. Now you also have to build a Facebook profile, Twitter stream, LinkedIn answer chains and blog archive.

Social Media for Small Business

Social Media for Small Business

Even though that’s been the Splash Media mantra since day one, don’t just take our word for it. A survey recently released by C-suite consultants BRANDfog shows that CEOs and others at the top of the company food chain are viewed as more trustworthy – not only by their employees, but by their customers as well.

If you think we’re just talking about big established brands and nothing of relevance regarding social media for small businesses, think again.

BRANDfog says it talked to “several hundred employees of diverse companies, spanning in size from startups to Fortune 500 companies, and working at all levels of their respective organizations,” in a wide variety of industries covering many regions of the U.S. The highlights:

  • 81% of those surveyed believe that CEOs who use social media are better equipped to lead their companies.
  • 82% say they are more likely to trust a company that has a social media-lovin’ CEO.
  • 77% are more likely/much more like to buy from a business “whose values and mission are defined through CEO and executive leadership participation on social media.”
  • 94% believe a brand’s image is enhanced when a company’s executive leadership partipates in social media.

The entire survey can be downloaded in .pdf form at www.brandfog.com; look for the CEO Survey link on the home page.

So why do some business leaders still balk at blogging and tweeting? V3 Integrated Marketing founder Shelly Kramer has a great take on the BRANDfog findings, why some executives remain skeptical, why they might question the survey methodology and the ultimate benefits in using social media.

To me, it’s more about the unique challenges in building out a small/midsize business, and the feeling among some SMB executives that social media is A. one more thing on a very busy agenda; B. some new technology that must be mastered and C. yet another drain on limited budget/personnel resources. Any serious research into those areas will uncover solutions for each one, however; social media management software tools can assist with organizing daily social media obligations, social networks are winning over grandparents with their ease-of-use for the technologically intimidated, and it’s cheaper and less time-consuming to implement than traditional media solutions. A host of social media marketing firms stand at the ready to assist businesses that want outside help, and executives can seek out training options for employees interested in being social media managers.

All of this knocks down the usual executive excuses for ignoring the social media marketing trends. Yes, biased folks like me keep harping on the same arguments about social media helping to generate leads, getting your business noticed online and closing the gap with potential/current customers. But surveys like BRANDfogs may make those arguments easier to digest among entrepreneurs and small business leaders.

Renay San Miguel is the Chief Content Officer at Splash Media and On-Air Talent and Host with Spark360.tv. You can find him on Twitter @PrimoMedia. Click here to see all of Renay’s blog posts.

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