Just back from the WOMMA Summit in Music City – and I have to admit, I’m in the midst of post-conference sensory overload. But while I’m ‘processing’ my Nashville experience, I thought I’d share a few quick sound bites that capture the spirit of the conference.
An energizing opening montage of the year’s Most Talkable Campaigns set the tone, underscoring the need for break-through creative.
Understanding Your Targets
Cisco’s Heather Alter shared her POV on achieving relevance in the eyes of the B2B customer during the ComBlu break-out. To start, understand what most influences their content experience with your brand:
“Defining personas and digital body language when developing content along the buyer’s journey is a critical first step.”
Rod Brooks, CMO @ PEMCO – on being hyper-local and using ‘insider’ humor to crowdsource content for their long-running Personalities of the Northwest campaign:
“Our goal is to provide world class experience through hyper- local engagement.”
“Smiles lead to conversations.”
Real-time, Relevant and Visual
Judd Hooks from Delta shared his top 10 list on elevating content, most importantly:
“Real time social is tablestakes. The trick is to be culturally relevant and true to your brand.”
And because it’s not always good news in the Twitterverse, SmartCar’s Eric Angelou and Razorfish’s Ryan Duffy shared the great “Poop tweet” case study as a model for clever-countering naysayers on social. Close coordination with legal and internal teams enabled the brand to respond quickly and to great effect — 22 mil impressions, 2000% increase in Twitter mentions and a #1 position on Reddit in just 3 days.
“There’s a love-hate relationship out there with smart cars. The key is to reframe the conversation to show off your personality.”
And one last notable quote from Shabnab Mogharabi at Soulpancake; on nurturing the creative spark.
“Every day, we get up and dance at our office to create a joyful environment. Joy is a catalyst to ideation.”
Wishing you the joy to get up and dance!
Are you sifting through the new FTC compliance rules for social engagement and trying to figure out what it all means? Really it is all about common sense. If you think about it, the rules are simply designed to keep us transparent as we craft new marketing strategies using social engagement and Voice of the Customer (VOC).
Tom Chernaik with CMP.LY and Suzanne Fanning from WOMMA facilitated a great webinar last week breaking down the FTC guidelines. WOMMA members can find additional information here. We saw some great examples of how to apply the new rules appropriately – as well what NOT to do. At the end of the day it is all about disclosure. Let me break down the major takeaways:
CMP.LY reminded us to use the “3 Ms”:
1. Mandate a disclosure policy that complies with the law
2. Make sure people who work for you or with you know what the rules are
3. Monitor what they’re doing on your behalf
Ethical and transparent marketing is the heart of social engagement. Keep in mind that failure to practice this discipline will leave your brand or agency at risk.
What do you anticipate the biggest compliance challenge will be?
As Chicago celebrates its Blackhawks bringing home the Stanley Cup, it’s hard to think about much else today. Or, for the past few weeks, as it happens. Since the series with the Boston Bruins began, fans of both teams have been blowing up my newsfeed and the twitter-verse. Not to mention Instagram, YouTube, and countless media, sports sites, and fan communities.
It was after all a battle for the Cup between two original NHL teams with the loyal fan bases to prove it — the ultimate ‘community’. On our webinar yesterday, hosted by Lithium Technology, my colleague Kathy Baughman outlined some of the best practices that distinguish great online communities; I’m struck by how many apply here:
The emotion imprints early. I remember trips to the old Boston Garden with my dad. And my mom yelling at us to “turn off the tv!” when we’d try to watch the B’s play the Canucks on the road (an 11 pm start on a school night was a no-go). An iconic poster of Bobby Orr seconds after scoring the winning goal for the Stanley Cup hung on just about every kid’s wall back then – and made many of them fans for life.
I’m betting, years from now, this image of Andrew Shaw – face bloody, eye swollen and Cup held high – will define the moment for Chicago kids, no matter where they land.
Congrats, Hawks. Great series. We’ll see you next year!
Bruins fans everywhere
While attending WOMMfest in Chicago last week, I had the opportunity to sit in on Hugh MacLeod’s session on Social Objects. Hugh is a really interesting guy and compelling speaker. He is a cartoonist (who wouldn’t love to have that claim to fame?) and has been the driving force behind the popularization of the term “Social Objects.” In his opinion, “Social Objects are the future of marketing.”
So, what is a social object? And why do they matter? McLeod defines social objects as “the reason two people are talking to each other, as opposed to talking to somebody else.” He notes that people are social animals and like to socialize—but there has to be a compelling reason to spark socialization. The social object is essentially the “node” in the social network that facilitates meaningful interaction among people.
In her book The Participatory Museum, Nina Simon describes social objects as “the engines of socially networked experiences, the content around which conversation happens.” She explains that “Social objects allow people to focus their attention on a third thing rather than on each other, making interpersonal engagement more comfortable.”
Given these descriptions, a social object could be almost anything! For example, my daughter is one of 15 players on a local hockey team. Her team plays two to three games a week and the families all gather together in excitement to cheer on the team. The social object in this case is hockey. Hockey is the object that fostered the social interaction among this group of people.
My colleague Peter’s most reliable social object is his beloved Shih Tzu-Maltese, Lucy. Her friendly look and cuteness garners lots of attention during walks, which results in him meeting more people in the city he just moved to than he would have otherwise. It is much easier to interact with Lucy, but that ultimately results in a connection with Peter. So the attention focused on the dog—or person to object—turns into socialization—or person to object to person.
A business example of a social object is WOMMfest itself. Marketing, branding and social engagement experts from three cities gathered to celebrate word-of-mouth marketing and learn more about a number of related topics, social objects among them. I am sure you get the idea.
So, why do they matter? According to McLeod, it is really quite simple. If people are not talking about or socializing around a company, its product or brand, then they are talking about someone else. And that’s bad.
He notes that “the hard currency of the Internet is not Facebook ‘Likes’ or Twitter retweets…by themselves, they’re worthless. The hard currency of the Internet is ‘Social Objects.’” Today, getting people to share in a meaningful manner with other people is far more important. McLeod states, “You’re either creating them [social objects] or you’re not. And if you’re not, you will fail, end of story.”
OK—so how do you create a social object? McLeod says it all lies in creating “…Social Gestures. And, lots of them.” During the WOMMfest session, he shared nine principles for creating social objects. Among them were: creating play; using new language; pushing the boundaries of design; and creating new context, unexpected experiences and places/reasons for people to meet in person.
Simon’s ideas for creating social objects are similar. She suggests that “design tweaks can make an object more personal, active, provocative or relational.” She noted that “Social platforms focus primarily on providing tools for visitors to engage with each other around objects. While attractive and functional presentation of objects is still important, it is secondary to promoting opportunities for visitors to discuss and share them.”
Feel free to disagree, but to me, this all points back to engagement and the sophistication of your engagement strategy. Social objects should be born from a compelling engagement strategy that essentially marries the virtual and physical worlds and provide the spark that fosters real socialization. It’s all about bringing it up a notch. Have social objects changed your engagement model? If so, I’d love to hear how!
“Take me with you.” If I could fit my friends, family and colleagues in my suitcase, I would, but to avoid exorbitant fees for overweight luggage, I rely instead on my favorite social networks to share real-time star sightings, emerging new talent and film discoveries at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s the next best thing to being there, right?
It’s this notion of inclusiveness that is the heart of what the folks at the Sundance Institute have strived to accomplish through social media — to provide everyone – whether you are in Park City or Paraguay – with an insider festival experience.
And, because the festival itself is only one moment in the journey of an independent film, Sundance’s social strategy effectively engages the film community and connoisseur well before, during and after the festival experience.
Before landing in Park City
Our journey began months before our flight to the mountain town of Park City when it was time to purchase tickets online during our allocated (by lottery) time slot. This can be a time-consuming endeavor as we sifted through 200 films in exhibition. What should we see? How do we get around? Will there be enough time to get from venue to venue?
Thankfully, the Sundance Film Festival 2013 mobile app offered a killer tool to help us effectively navigate, schedule and share the movies, parties and panels at this year’s event. With access to exclusive articles and blogs, GPS and maps, photo galleries, trailers and social networks for film geeks like us, we were able to select the films with the most buzz and coordinate with fellow friends our movie, party and dinner dates.
(By the way, Twitter was also a big help with the timely release of Sundance 2012 Filmmakers, its “hot list” of filmmakers, critics and industry voices to follow at this year’s extravaganza.)
Between movies, Twitter was our go-to source for updates on the films, Q&As, award winners and more. While major media and online news outlets contributed commentary on Twitter about the festival, the Institute did its best with two extremely active Twitter handles dedicated exclusively to all things Sundance. And, this year, they did something new and completely fresh: invited guest celebrities like Mariel Hemingway and Dave Grohl to interact with fans using the @SundanceFest account.
With @sundancefestnow, we were able to get 24/7 live, up-to-the-minute updates – something that proved quite helpful when it was time to “casually run into” James Franco.
Here’s a photo we posted on Instagram with Sundance fixture James Franco. That’s me on the right, along with my partner in movies Bradley Lincoln.
Since Sundance is the place to see and be seen, it’s not surprising that Sundance created, for the first time this year, pages on Pinterest and Instagram. After all, these are the perfect platforms to relay pictures taken at premieres, on the red carpet, backstage or during interviews.
While Pinterest may be the social network du jour, we regularly checked Sundance’s Facebook page to make sure we didn’t miss a beat. From a content perspective, the Facebook page effectively curates what’s happening in all of Sundance’s social networks – effectively serving as a “one-stop shop” to all things Sundance. What’s more, it’s truly engaging (perhaps explaining why they have more than 277K followers): every post is linked to the people, movies and groups being discussed with an average of two to three other tagged pages.
Even with very little sleep, it’s just impossible to be everywhere at once. Or, so we thought. Sundance made it possible, in part, with an afternoon series of eight live Google+ Hangouts with artists and special guests. (For those that weren’t comfortable with Google+, you could also participate via Google chat or Twitter using the hashtag #SundanceHangouts).
And, even though we weren’t able to snag tickets for the Award Ceremony, we were able to get up-close-and-personal with host Joseph Gordon-Levitt and other celebrities in attendance by checking out Sundance’s Livestream, a robust collection of original content, including Q&As, panels and events. So, when people asked us if we saw Spike Lee, I can honestly say we did (just not in person).
The fest may be done, but the party isn’t over
For film lovers like me, the Sundance experience is far from over. We didn’t have the opportunity to check out this year’s selected shorts, but can view them in the comfort of our home by checking out The Screening Room, a new YouTube channel featuring a selection of short films that premiered at the festival. As we debate the true meaning of the movie “Concussion,” we can check out director Stacie Passon’s perspective at “Meet the Artists,” a video series created by Sundance. And, of course, we can keep tabs of the films we saw and those that we sadly missed by following their journey to a big or small screen near you on Sundance’s social networks.
By embracing social, Sundance has effectively created powerful, year-round connections with film afficianados who are hungry for independent film, new voices and untold stories. Don’t take my word for it; check out the social side of Sundance for yourself. If you like what you see, join me next year for the Fest (and, no, you cannot fit inside my luggage – I’m going carry-on next year).
There are a lot of blogs on social marketing, social media and word of mouth today and like bellybuttons, everyone has an opinion.
Here is the thing that has bugged me for nearly the last two years (yes, that is a long time to be perturbed by anything unless you are Lewis Black).
Are you ready?
Many of the published approaches and opinions on social today are clinical or theoretical. They don’t take into account the realities of everyday business. In other words, what happens when the ever present ‘pivot’ is required or the budget for the more complete and elegant program strategy is clawed back by management or a re-org occurs and all your senior stakeholders have vanished.
As I sit here writing this post, I am reminded of a statement I recently heard, “a plan is something you throw out when you are down by 14 at the end of the first quarter.” Since we are in the midst of pre-Super Bowl hype,let’s go with the analogy. My point here is that plans, like social programs and strategies should be fluid. They are full of audibles and broken plays. Sometimes it is the simple shovel pass that wasn’t even a play option that gets the first down.
With this in mind I introduce to you WOMMA TV. As WOMMA TV’s host, I promise you a no-holds barred and in-depth peek (or as in-depth that 15 minutes will allow) peek into the real world of doing social well. We are going to leave the charts, process flows and social theory to others. For those of you who know me, you know I love charts as much as the next geek but that isn’t the purpose of WOMMA TV. Instead, WOMMA TV will be more ‘reality tv’ than produced sitcom.
WOMMA TV’s pilot is in the can and the first episode is in less than two weeks. You’ll find it the end of the first week of each month at WOMMA’s website, as well as, here. It will also be promoted on Twitter. You’ll find it on YouTube and a variety of other places. Just search ‘WOMMA TV’.
Each month, just prior to the show, I will publish a post with the upcoming topic and a peek behind the scenes of the upcoming episode.
It’s my hope that you’ll add WOMMA TV to your list of your ‘must consume’ monthly content on social.
Share this news. Re-tweet this great testimonial. Pin our new infographic. Instagram our brilliant creative. Promote our contest. Get them to like us – really, really like us.
It’s good to be popular. Once the forgotten bunch, social media managers are becoming increasingly popular as their brand and marketing colleagues clamor to get their baby some social media love.
Before you post, keep in mind we’re publishers now. And, with that comes great responsibility. It’s not just about keeping our internal clients happy, but our followers as well. It requires a careful balancing act.
Sure, there are conversation opportunities that are serendipitous and often random that can’t be planned in advance – after all, you want content in the mix that is disruptive and fun. But, that needs to be supplemented with an organizational framework that ensures that social engagement efforts are tightly integrated with an organization’s marketing, PR and communications plans. To do this effectively, you need to create, consult and maintain a content calendar (weekly, monthly) that serves as a roadmap for all social media efforts. What’s more, you need to share the calendar across the organization to get everyone onboard and to improve and extend your social reach and results.
With the New Year just around the corner, here are seven resolutions to make before you publish:
· Target accordingly. For each social channel and shared content, ask yourself: What am I trying to accomplish? Who are we talking to? What brand messages do we want to convey? Then, align and craft posts accordingly to ensure they are relevant and engaging to your various audiences.
· Take inventory. Audit the timely and compelling content that you have currently or that’s in the works. Create a worksheet to organize them into content buckets (topics) and types (news links, blog posts, poll questions, videos, infographics, e-books, events, etc.).
· Create themes. Pick topics or themes in broad categories that can be broken down into sub-categories. Align your theme accordingly based on the demographics/interests of each social network. The key to success is to decide upon a manageable number of categories, product areas or marketing promotions to focus on each month. Consider developing standing, recurring features (e.g. “Fun Fridays”). And, don’t forget the freebies: holidays, national observances, events and cultural happenings all provide opportunities to make connections and spark conversations. Authenticity is key: don’t make brand connections that feel forced. This approach provides a powerful framework to guide your efforts, spark ideas for compelling messages and identify potential content gaps.
· Sell softly. Shake things up, it shouldn’t be all about you. Social expert Paul Chaney recommends the 70/20/10 rule. 70 percent of content should focus on your customers’ interest and needs, 20 percent should be other people’s content and 10 percent should be promotional.
· Think visually. Countless studies demonstrate that visually compelling posts win – they are more engaging than links and typically get more conversations and shares than other types of content. What’s the picture that conveys the story you want to tell?
· Give them a reason to follow or like you. Compelling content remains king and can be enhanced by providing exclusive content, products, events and offers. Don’t forget to ask for feedback and recognize your followers.
· Continuously measure. Track and record results within the calendar to determine what works and what doesn’t, and adjust your strategies accordingly.
Keeping these approaches in mind will make the social content and engagement planning process less daunting, more efficient and effective. What resolutions would you add to our list?
On October 18th, I-COM, The International Conference for Online Measurement held its 2012 Global Summit.
For the last year, I have had the great pleasure to represent WOMMA on I-COM’s board of directors and had the opportunity to collaborate with quite literally some of the best and brightest digital marketers and big data thought leaders that exist anywhere on the globe.
This group worked tirelessly to create a worthwhile conference framework, identify the right topics, build a structural framework for the conference, speaker presentations and breakout sessions, as well as, identify industry thought leaders that people would in some cases travel half way around the world to listen to, learn from and in some cases have a rousing debate with.
Here are some insights from the conference, in case your travel budget didn’t allow for a junket to Italy. There is a lot of content for you at this link, so surf through and pick out what you are most interested in.
Here are some high points and opinions that I’ve distilled from the preplanning work, the conference content and post conference discussions.
1. Don’t get overly enamored with Big Data. Yes, it will change how the best businesses plan their strategies but it isn’t a magic ball that will close all the knowledge gaps you have. Effective use of Big Data requires organizational alignment, special skills, tools and processes to utilize correctly. The old phrase junk in-junk out still applies, so be thoughtful in what and how you measure.
2. Dashboards aren’t the next killer app. Just like Big Data, dashboards are an efficiency tool that provide value when used effectively. Like one observer put it, “Dashboards are a lot like your highlighter in college. If you highlighted the wrong stuff in your text book, or everything in a chapter for that matter, you were sure to flunk your test. Be thoughtful in what you highlight” Just like Big Data, junk in, junk out.
3. Campaigns are transitory. Content is not. Marketers need to move their fixation from campaign optimization to content optimization.
4. Traditional activity metrics (impressions, likes, etc.) have a waning importance. With the growth and soon critical mass of ‘Do Not Track’ restrictions, marketers must move strategies and activities to ‘value metrics’, such as content and page value (and correlated KPI impact).
5. ‘ROI’ of social and in many cases, digital engagement is still very amorphous. Currently, the ‘R’ in ROI has no real, solid currency (as measured in business impact or Profit and Loss terms). Marketers need to apply more discipline to get to that before ‘The ROI of social’ has any real meaning or value.
6. Global, category standards are critical to ensuring acceptance. However, standards need not include a measure or a metric for the sake of applying one (there are a lot of measures out there that either make little sense or are impossible to track. Let’s not add to this clutter).
7. Continuing education is critical to adoption and value generation. Create, use, teach and enforce consistent, relevant vocabularies and approaches to the important general or universal categories.
8. Accept that evolution in this space is occurring so quickly that the focus should be on the process and best practices, not an end result.
Of course there was a lot more than this that occurred in Rome. Lots of detail and smart opinions were shared and discussed on topics such as mobile, attribution, multi-screen analytics, attribution and advertising effectiveness in a digital age just to name a few of the many meaty topics.
Spend some time with this information, you’ll be glad you did. Share it (or at least the eight points I’ve outlined above) with your peers and use it to continue to evolve and improve your own initiatives.
Admit it: Google+ is a ghost town. After the initial hoopla, how often did you log in? If you were like most of us, the answer is hardly ever. Clearly, the giant’s attempt to be part of our daily lives like Facebook hasn’t quite yet clicked as hoped.
But, a month ago at the company’s annual Google I/O developer event, the eager empire introduced a ton of new features, programs and hardware—not the least of which is the new Google+ Events, which promises to reinvent how we plan events online.
According to the Official Google Blog, the new service is “for all of the moments that matter – before, during and after the event.” Setting this apart from other party planning services, like Evite, is the ability to personalize invitations with video or customer themes and animations along with instant calendar integration.
How It Works
Creating an event is incredibly easy: just click Events in the left menu and then complete the options that you have available.
Simply add title, locations, details, time and who you want to invite. You can choose from a collection of animated themes or create a custom invite from one of your own photos. Once the event is created, it’s automatically added to the Google calendar of every person invited.
The invite includes Google+ Events greatest strength: it’s an online, invite-only party with instant-upload photos and chat, running on the desktop of anyone who’s invited, as well as any mobile users running the Google+ app in Party mode.
Similar to Facebook’s event curator, Google+ allows users to search for public events. The main difference between the two is that while Facebook only allows you to see events your friends created or were invited to, Google+ shows all public events in real time as they’re created or updated.
A critical component to this new event planning approach is the Party Mode feature of the mobile app—not only do your guests’ updates instantly appear in the stream for the event, but so do their photos and videos. As more guests participate, your event “gets a pulse.” What’s more: there’s a live slideshow option, meaning everyone can be part of the action.
As someone who uses online event planning tools, you can see the power of this tool: it’s not only fun, but truly enhances engagement leading up to and during an event. I’m eager to see how this new tool plays out for experiential marketers. Have you tried it out yet?
Each fall, ComBlu releases its annual “State of Online Branded Communities” report. Every summer, our researchers join about 250 communities and score them using a best practices scorecard. In addition, they make more qualitative judgments about member experience, engagement and how well the overall encounter matches the stated mission of the community. We usually analyze a sample across 15 different industries and to date have scored nine sectors for our 2012 study.
When teasing out some of our results, we typically focus on best practices and brands that are rock stars. But as the community and engagement disciplines mature, it is astounding how many bad practices stick around: worse than fly paper on a puddle of rubber cement.
Here are five of my “favorite” worst practices:
Worst Practice #1: Moderating comments, stories and photos before porting to the community site. Come on—aren’t we passed this? Best Buy leaves up toxic comments and lets the community organically defend or correct misinformation while Lowe’s requires all comments to be approved before they are posted. Sears requires all reviews to be vetted before they are posted. What decade are we in?
Worst Practice # 2: Asking for info at registration and promising to drive pertinent content based upon personal interests or needs and never delivering on the promise. P&Gs/Eukanuba community gets props for thinking about content customization but gets razzed for, in reality, sending everyone the same content.
Worst Practice #3: Related to the above egregious practice is leaving up hopelessly outdated content. When a brand doesn’t care enough to update a blog post or share some great new content with its members, it’s time to get out of the community business. American Express displayed this practice in a few of its community properties.
Worst practice #5: Asking the community members to submit their success stories with no criteria for selection or qualification minimizes engagement. While Unilever’s Slim Fast gets credit for thinking about using some great VOC integration, the execution falls short. The stories in this section of the community are highly edited and in corporate voice—not the natural, authentic voice of the customer you would expect in a customer community. The few stories presented rarely change and are formal case studies rather than VOC.
Unfortunately, the list of worst practices is long and more will be included in the full report, which should be published by early November. What worst practices have you noticed?