What Facebook’s Changes Mean for Marketers

Two People Talking Exchange Marketing Ideas

Facebook changed the way their social network works…again. As this article from Mashable points out, there’s changes in store for how marketers use the social network as a result.

Facebook is constantly mixing things up in an attempt to stay relevant and ahead of consumer preferences. Unfortunately, this means more for marketers to keep up with. We’ve been talking about the value of content in your social media presence for some time now and this recent slew of Facebook changes makes it even more critical for marketers to deliver relevant, helpful, entertaining and informative content that serves the information and entertainment needs of their audience rather than pitching the marketers  products or services.

How to do this? We’d like to suggest a couple of simple steps:

First, use your listening platform to mine for insights about topics related to the end benefit your product or service delivers to consumers, rather than the features so many marketers drive their digital marketing around. An example of this is for a camera company to create really helpful e-books, mobile apps, videos or other digital resources to help people take better photos…the reason people buy a new camera in the first place.

Second, get your digital distribution ecosystem in place so that you can get the content out to all the social channels your consumers are using…blogs, social networks, forums and message boards, Q&A sites…you name it. Don’t keep the content behind your walled garden on your web site. Free Your Content!

Third, make sure your content is sharable. You want your audience to help with distribution, don’t you? Sure you do, because the crowd can get it out to the masses like nobody else.  Again, Free Your Content!

Finally, make sure the content has a call to action that links your audience back to your home site for a deeper layer of engagement…a special offer for more content, an incentive for purchase or some other relevant call to action. Think of your content as bread crumbs scattered across the internet, leading the little birds back to your site.

Brands that create compelling content and follow these steps reap substantial rewards, converting consumers who didn’t even know they were in the market for a product or service. When we ask marketers seek first to provide answers to needs rather than shill our stuff, everyone wins!

Businesses Add iPad to Briefcases


If you don’t think mobile devices are going to change your business…well, you’re just wrong.

Despite Enormous Popularity, Old Spice Guy Not Helping Sales – Yahoo! TV Blog

Well, this is kind of disappointing. Yahoo! News reports that, in spite of huge popularity, the Old Spice Guy social media talk back campaign is failing to deliver sales results. In fact, sales are down 7%. Yikees!

Of course, I think the jury is still out on this matter. Body wash is still a growing category and this campaign just really took off last week. There’s going to be lag from the time the fervor hits and sales at retail start happening. Body wash isn’t really something you pantry load, after all (unless you’re me and your two teenage sons keep stealing yours).

I think we need to reserve judgment a couple weeks. Then we can see if the social effect started to take effect. The other thing the designers of this campaign could have done to stimulate short term trial, is come up with a mobile app…Old Spice Guy sayings…and delivered a mobile coupon. Or, conducted Old Spice Guy events at retail.

Any thoughts on what else they could have done to insure sales success?

How the Old Spice Videos Are Being Made

Old Spice Guy

The Old Spice Guy social media effort by Old Spice has been tearing up the social web in the last week and there’s little wonder why. It’s a brilliantly conceived extension of a very cheeky and well executed TV ad campaign. But, by leveraging social media in a very savvy way, they’ve made the actor in an ad take on a very real and bigger than life persona and made a brand that’s all about keeping your pits from stinking seem very hip and cool.

This post from ReadWriteWeb reveals how they create these almost-real-time social video responses to what people are commenting about online.In the process, they’re showing how you create a great brand experience via marketing. P&G has taken a very low interest category and made it fun, hip and cool. Well done.

Unilever to Double-Down on Digital Spend

According to this AdAge interview with Unilever CMO Keith Weed, Unilever is shifting dollars…a big portion of it’s spend…to digital. And by “digital” he means three things: paid, owned and earned.

It’s an interesting look at the thinking going on at one of the biggest mass marketers on the planet. They realize that they are a mass marketer that’s got to get where the mass of the people are, and increasingly that’s online and on their mobile devices.

Local Search, Social Networking and Mobile Gaming Coming of Age on Mobile Devices

Compete just released it’s Smartphone Intelligence survey (redundancy there) and there’s some interesting insight into consumer behavior trends mobile is enabling. Think Local Search, Social Connectivity and Gaming.

Search

According to the survey, 1 in 3 smartphone owners has called or stopped in a local business after finding it using a local search app. In just first quarter, over a third of Android and iPhone owners discovered at least two new businesses that they were not previously aware of thanks to using these local search apps.

Social

Thirty-three percent of smartphone Twitter users post tweets primarily via their smartphones. Of those accessing Facebook via their smartphones, they’re reading news feeds, posting status updates, replying to messages and posting photos.

Gaming

iPhone owners download and play games more than any other handset owner. ..37% play games of some kind at least daily.

Implications:

Anyone with physical locations would be wise to find ways to make their presence known to smartphone users. If you’re really smart, you might want to think about a way to combine local search, social and gaming all in one…like a Foursquare or Gowalla.

via Compete blog.

Top 9 Brands on Facebook and Twitter

Another superb post from Brian Solis on comScores Q1 U.S. E-Commerce Spending Report. Brian’s post is filled with a ton of great information and insight and he includes this graphic, showing the top 9 brands by “like” on Facebook and followers on Twitter.

What I find fascinating in this list is the mixture of brands…a classic CPG titan like Coca-Cola, up-and-comer Red Bull, retailers Victoria’s Secret and ZARA, digital brand YouTube…even Converse. Some achieve their ranking based on their Facebook presence alone. And although Twitter hasn’t had as much time as Facebook to build as a service, it’s having an powerful impact as a source of news and information, even for brands.

The mixed bag of participants just goes to prove that success in the social space doesn’t depend so much on category but on actual  participation. Having a presence in social media is one thing. Using it as yet another channel for old and tiered “push” marketing and advertising is another. Brands that insist on this latter approach, an there are a lot, just prove to everyone they don’t get it.

What matters? Listening, engaging in the conversation naturally, offering value first before you try to “pitch”…these are the currencies of brand participation in social media. Gee, sounds a lot like what one person does to have a mutually beneficial relationship with another. Maybe if brands acted more like people and treated their customers like people instead of objects (“targets”) they’d experience better results all around. Something to think about.

Apple iOS 4 review

In case you’re just dying to know what all the new iPhoney goodness is all about, CNET has this helpful rundown of all the shiny new features in Apple’s iOS 4 being released this week.

Some of the features I’ve seen demoed are stunning. Apple keeps upping the game, that’s for sure. But, I’m getting tired of feeling compelled to fork over $300 every July for the newest phone. Is there such as thing as Apple Status Quo-a-phobia?

Apple iOS 4 review | iPhone Atlas – CNET Reviews.

Does Social Media Engagement for Business Translate to Brand Sales? Yes!

Social Media can be a powerful way for business professionals to increase their brand awareness and sales.

Excellent post by social media thought leader Brian Solis on how, for business, social media engagement on sites like Facebook and Twitter is translating into sales. New research reveals that over 60% of Facebook users and a whopping 79% of Twitter users are more likely to recommend a brand since becoming a fan/follower on these social networks.

Solis goes on to point out that actively and thoughtfully engaging consumers in social media is fast becoming a base expectation. But, brands beware! Reread the first part of the lead sentence in this paragraph again…the part about actively and THOUGHTFULLY engaging.

It never fails to amaze me when I find big brands using social media channels as yet another avenue for interruption or push messaging. You see this all the time. Some brands think it’s still all about them. This is the quickest path to irrelevance and having consumers dismiss you as hopelessly out of touch. This channel is NOT about what you have to say. It’s about LISTENING and joining in the CONVERSATION and one of the best ways to do this is with relevant content.

Social media for business can be a tremendous platform for developing and employing a new set of relationship skills and a distribution vehicle to serve up content that seeks to first provide a value to their audiences. This skill set doesn’t come naturally to brand marketers who have spent years of their careers and millions of dollars perfecting their ability to TALK AT people through ads, direct mail,  press releases and the like, delivered via traditional media channels. This is a comfortable and easy-to-manage process, for sure. Unfortunately, it’s a marketing method sharply in decline and no wonder: There’s very little consumer value delivered in this legacy advertising/pr, interruption-based approach.

The mantra of the internet in the first part of this decade was: if you’re not on Google, you don’t exist.

The mantra going forward is: if you’re not on Facebook or Twitter, you don’t exist.

This isn’t just the opinion of young people, according to the research Solis references.

“It shows they are not really with it or in tune with the new ways to communicate with customers.” Female 18-24.

“If they’re not on Facebook or Twitter, then they aren’t in touch with the…people.” Female 55-59

I know this to be the case from my own experience. I own two Lexus cars. I love them. But, there’s one problem…their keys suck! They have some kind of manufacturing defect in the plastic of the key fob and they become very brittle and break over the course of normal use. Now, aside from the fact that a cheap, crappy key is a big disconnect with a luxury brand experience, there are two other major irritations that go with this problem:

1) When the key fobs break, the transponder often falls out. Without the transponder, you can’t open the doors remotely and in certain cases may not even be able to start the car.

2) Replacement keys cost a ridiculous $200 a piece.

Least you think I’m petty and needlessly using the blog to harp on a personal matter…this has happened to three of our four main keys. Do you think Lexus covers this under warranty? Ah, no.

The last straw came a couple weeks ago when the third key broke as my wife was engaging in the extremely abusive behavior of removing it from her purse. I decided to see if Lexus was even listening on social media so I tweeted about the issue and got no response. So, I then posted it on Facebook…where I also got no response. In a Twitter search, I found lots of posts from Lexus about their new sexy new sports car…along with my tweet gripping about the key. In a Google search, I also found lots of links to people complaining about Lexus key fobs breaking. Either Lexus is not listening or they don’t care. And, you know what…I’m not so sure I care that much about $50,000 cars with cheap, crappy keys. After all, a $50,000 that won’t start because of it’s crappy key is the definition of useless. And infuriating.

This is obviously a customer service issue and for business owners, social media is a great, real time lab for listening to customer complaints and issues and fixing them. Just look at what Comcast has done using Twitter to improve it’s customer service experience. If nothing else, responding to complaints on social networks gives brands the opportunity to not only solve problems but let everyone know they’re doing so. In the process, they can turn the complaints into compliments. This clearly reflects positively on the brand and everyone can know about it…something that doesn’t happen in a call center interaction.

But, to be relevant on Facebook and Twitter, brands need to go beyond using it to resolve customers service issue.  A brand needs more than a social media presence for their business. Brands should be surprising and delighting potential customers and customers with content that seeks to answer their questions and need for information first…and  you can gently and organically integrate your brand into this content when and where it’s credible and makes sense. By taking this approach, a brand earns the right to be heard.

We call this approach Branded Conversations…listening first, then providing relevant content that answers customers questions and need for information. We think it’s a new marketing practice whose time has come.

 

The Digital Marketing Revolution Continues

Results from a recent Deloitte sponsored survey of CMO’s and senior level marketers portends great news for digital marketing practitioners and bad news for traditional “push” marketing types…within corporations and agencies alike.

Investing in digital demand generation and online relationship building ranks among the top initiatives being taken to maximize the impact and value of marketing in 2010, according to 46% of survey participants.

The digital revolution continues!

CMO COUNCIL :: Press Release.