Archive for November, 2008
Chris Brogan had a recent post about whether or not every conversation needs to be touched. Of course touching or engaging in every conversation that occurs across the Internet would be virtually impossible and a full-time job.
But how about when the conversation is no longer touched by the person/company that created it? It could be because they just don’t have the time to engage in the conversation or that they just chose not to.
When the two-way conversation ends, is that an indication that social media doesn’t scale? When I asked this question on Twitter, I received some interesting insights. Some folks thought it’s okay not to respond to every comment (and I’ll expand this to it’s okay to not engage every conversation) and some thought that companies are already showing evidence of scaling. But the most interesting perspective, and one I hadn’t thought of, came from Russ Somers. His thought was that social media scales like a party. As in you can’t dance with everyone at the party, but you can throw such a great party that everyone dances with each other.
Sticking with this analogy, I’ll ask how long does just being able to throw a great party last? When do the guests get tired of dancing with each other because their host can’t or won’t dance with them? What happens when a guest feels slighted, do they move on to the next party where the host does dance with everyone?
Analogies aside, what does this mean for businesses? If they are enticed to join the on-line conversation (social) via Web 2.0 tools (media), what happens when they can no longer provide that two-way conversation…the reason behind why they got involved in the first place?
Chris has another recent post that equates social media to café-shaped conversations as in conversations aren’t suppose to scale because they are meant bite-sized.
After mulling this over for the last four days, here’s the conclusion that I came to. Let me know if you agree or disagree.
Two-way conversations are not scalable. Once they reach the tipping point, two-way conversations revert back to one-way conversations (or the community conversing amongst themselves). At this point, Web 2.0 tools join the arsenal of traditional marketing tools (such as direct marketing, e-mail marketing, PR, advertising, etc.) to continue mass, one-way communication efforts.
If you agree, how can companies manage small-scale two-way conversations in such a way that they do not alienate the people that are trying to have a conversation with them?
If you disagree, how is social media scalable? Is it only a matter of building out a social media department that handles responding to blog posts or community managers to handle on-line requests?
[Image: Archives of Ontario]
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A few weeks ago I went to Best Buy to get a new laptop and software. I asked for what I wanted and left with my new laptop fully loaded with software. It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed the Microsoft Office version and Internet protection software loaded wasn’t what I had asked for. So, the following week (when I had time), I went back and explained that they had provided and installed the wrong version of Microsoft Office (it was a non-commercial use version). They told me an upgrade would solve the problem.
Today, I finally had a chance to load the upgrade and well, you guessed it, it was still a non-commercial use version and not what I wanted at all.
I packed up the laptop and all the software boxes and trekked back over to Best Buy. This would be my third trip and last time I was there I got a bit of resistance (they didn’t want to deal with returning opened and used software). So this time around, I thought I should see if Best Buy customer service was on Twitter.
A bunch of folks on Twitter let me know that the CMO of Best Buy, Barry Judge (@BestBuyCMO) was on Twitter (thank you @LenKendall, @DMASocialMedia, @KeithBurtis, @PhilBaumann for letting me know). I tweeted the CMO of Twitter and got a response from Gina, Best Buy’s Community Manager (@gina_community). Gina sent me an e-mail address and asked me to let her know what was going on at the store. I sent her an e-mail from my BlackBerry to get her up-to-date.
In the meantime, the Product Manager (Dwayne) at Best Buy was working with me to figure out what the next steps were. Simultaneously I was interacting with Gina on-line and Dwayne offline. Gina also e-mailed the store to see what progress was being made.
Dwayne was great and I was able to return all of the software that I couldn’t use and I finally got what I needed.
I was really glad to see that Best Buy was listening on Twitter, but unfortunately, they paid the price for not listening off-line (they are now stuck with a bunch of software that they can’t re-sell).
By the way, this whole situation was resolved in about 10-15 minutes and I can finally give kudos to Best Buy. I guess it’s true what they say… “third time’s a charm.”
[Image: San Fransisco Chronicle, SFGate.com]
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This quote truly sums up this Thanksgiving holiday for me. I am thankful for my family and friends as they are my life.
I am also very thankful for the social media community (you know who you are!!) and how you have embraced and accepted my passion for marketing, communications, PR and social media.
I am truly grateful, but what works for me this holiday season is paying in kind somewhere else. And hopefully I can do that by creating content that makes someone’s job a little bit easier or stretches their brain a bit and by sharing the brilliance of others. In return, I am the recipient of thought provoking and engaging conversations (on- and off-line) and wonderful friendships. I am continually amazed everyday how my world keeps getting smaller and smaller!
This Thanksgiving, how are you “pay[ing] ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life?”
Wishing you, your families and your friends a lovely Thanksgiving!
[Image: Positive Communication]
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You don’t know me from Adam, I know. And I recognize that you may never see or respond to this letter and that’s okay by me (really, it’s okay, especially after the headache you’ve been given). What I am about to blog about here is probably something you don’t want to hear about any more…but, please, I ask that you hear me out.
I came to learn about your situation on Monday morning and at first I thought, yes, these moms have every right to be annoyed and here we are again with another great case study on our hands. But, the more I read, the more I commented and the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got with it all.
I think you and your team did an outstanding job in addressing the situation as it percolated, but I am disappointed in you too. Why? Because you took down your advertising campaign, a campaign that has been running successfully since September 30th (Source: AdAge). I am sure this was a well-thought out campaign led by a bright and experienced team. And it’s obviously a campaign that cost a lot of money.
This was not a social media campaign, but a traditional marketing campaign that was unfortunately brought down by a few moms that blog and that have voices stronger than the average mom because of their use of Web 2.0 tools. But, what about those other moms, the ones without an immediate and viral voice don’t they get a say? There are moms that don’t blog and that use baby holders, backpacks, slings, etc. because they are convenient and necessary for being hands-free. And, maybe, just maybe they do think they look like a ‘cool, hip mom.’ Maybe they were thinking “Finally! Someone who gets what I go through every day and knows my back hurts like hell at 8pm! I DO need relief.” Who knows…of course, that’s all pure speculation on my part.
But here’s the thing I really want to address. To me, what happened to your brand was akin to someone yelling fired in a theater and people getting trampled. And I really don’t want to see it happen again.
Companies are afraid to dip their toe in the social media waters as it is…now they are going to be afraid to do a traditional marketing campaign for fear of having to pull it all. How do you explain that to the Board in these economic times?
My thoughts, pure and simple, for what they’re worth…
- Yes, listen to your audience (and I am sure you do). But, when they come swarming out of nowhere like Africanized bees, question the motives before making any moves.
- After putting a lot of elbow grease, time, money and research into a campaign (traditional or social media), don’t pull it just to appease the minority over the majority; especially if your research tells you otherwise.
- Don’t use Twitter for primary research. While I respect Peter Shankman, I don’t agree with that bit of advice. Twitter is too limited, too slanted and too untested for research. It’s good for a pulse check, agreed.
- Don’t think that all of us bloggers are the same. There are some that abuse the power of their voice and that damages the credibility of the rest.
- Be confident enough to make a stand if you don’t agree with the backlash. Use it as an opportunity for conversation and a chance to have your voice heard too.
- Social media is indeed your friend during a communications crisis.
- Use this as a learning lesson; we all will be joining you.
And finally, I’ll end with this…if you are considering releasing staff or your agency from their contract over this snafu, PLEASE reconsider that notion. Think back and evaluate every step that the team made to get to September 30, the date when you were proud and excited about this campaign launching. Think about the last six weeks when this campaign was running without issue. (I mention this not because I think that’s what you will do, but as a marketer this situation strikes fear into my very core and I empathize with my fellow marketers).
Thank you for your time.
P.S. It is not my intention to capitalize on this situation or to cause J&J more damage. In that regard I have not utilized any links, product names, tags, keywords or SEO with this post that relate to to topic at hand. As you know, I cannot control natural search, sharing or trackbacks/pingbacks. My sole intention was to provide support to you and your team and share my thoughts (with my community as well).
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After doing my first video blog (vlog), I need to be self-critiquing and say that I wasn’t ready. In fact, I wish I could do it over…in a BIG way. Here’s what I got wrong what could have been done better:
Introduce yourself, your blog name and address. If your video gets and separated from your blog you run the risk of people not knowing who you are or where you came from. More importantly, because it’s out of context from your blog, they won’t understand why you are talking about that particular subject.
Talk about something that’s interesting to a lot of people or useful. Talking about something that most people might not understand or be interested in isn’t of value…nor will it lead to a viral life for your video.
No one wants to hear anyone ramble on for 4 minutes unless it’s something totally fascinating (thank you all for being so nice in not pointing this out!).
It’s hard to put yourself out there in video let alone worry about facial expressions. But, let’s face it, controlling facial expressions and body language is important to appearing professional and appealing. And yet, you don’t want to look like a robot either. What can I say here but practice, practice, practice.
Select a video host like Viddler that allows you to put your logo on your video. Again, if it gets separated, people will know who you are. This is really only important if you don’t have a way to edit videos to add your logo, music, effects, etc.
A home office isn’t really of visual interest, is it? Consider a set of some sort to provide an appealing locale. As well, props and background visuals add another layer of visual interest. You know what they say; an image is worth a thousand words.
Li Evans at Search Marketing Gurus has a great post on how to add video into your on-line marketing strategy with some really valuable tips. Check it out…she’s a pro when it comes to utilizing video.
That’s my list of what to do better. What would you add?