Tag: engagement

A (Short) Tale of Two Twitter Squatters

Social Media5 Comments

Late 2009, AdAge guest columnist Michael Werch conducted a social media experiment where decided to impersonate a famous brand and see how long it would take for them to notice and what the resposne would be.

For two weeks, he posed as a Twitter representative of Heinz under the username @HJ_Heinz where he shared information about the brand as well as recipes and tips when using Heinz products. In other words, he was an advocate for the brand. Once Heinz got wind of the account, however, it was swiftly shutdown and Werch’s username changed to @notHJ_Heinz with a stern warning that he had violated Twitter’s rules.

In contrast, @Adelaide_FC started life as the unofficial Twitter account for the Adelaide Crows with an unnamed fan tweeting regular updates and news about the team including links to the Crows official website. Once the Crows found out about it, however, they did not ask Twitter to close the account but instead reached out to @Adelaide_FC and asked if he would continue tweeting officially for the team.

Today’s digital tools have empowered consumers to spread the word and share their passion. However, it is up to brands themselves to decide how much control of their brand and their message they are willing to cede to their customers.

How much control do you think an organisation needs to keep over their brand?

Do unofficial brand advocates need to be kept on a leash to prevent them from saying something damaging or are brands better served letting them spread the word authentically and without interference?

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Flipping the script on campaign websites

Digital Strategy, Social Media7 Comments

“Build it, and they will come”

Or at least that was the early thinking around websites. But what history has shown us is that just because you’ve built a website doesn’t necessarily mean anyone is going to come or give a crap.

Coke’s decision to abandon the tried-and-tested formula of building one-off campaign websites and driving traffic towards that with massive advertising campaigns is perhaps the best proof of that.

Instead, Coke will reinvest to expand their social media presence on YouTube and Facebook to go where the people are rather than forcing them to go to it.

Pardon the interruption

This is a great move by Coke.

Instead of having an expectation that customers will type in a URL to visit their site, they are going where their customers are already playing thus causing the least amount of interruption. It’s a sign of respect that Coke understands how their customers behave and are willing to play in there too rather than forcing customers to come to them.

The web also isn’t getting any less crowded with well over a bajillion sites (at a guess), a hefty portion of which probably lie dormant. Especially since most campaign-specific sites are typically neglected and rarely updated once a campaign has run its course. Sure there are long-tail benefits of having a campaign website, but it’s far more effective to be where your customers are.

It’s clear that there is some real strategic thinking on Coke’s part about how social media can deliver against their business objectives and that social is no longer a novelty but a serious marketing tool.

More bang for your buck

Also on a side note, if you want to talk about accountability (not that Coke need to watch their pennies), it seems to be a better allocation of Coke’s resources to focus on building lasting relationships on a relatively inexpensive platform rather than plow wads of dough into what will most likely amount to a temporary engagement.

N.B. I’m in no way saying you should abandon your main website in favour of a Facebook fan page. Having a website that you can call your own to illustrate who you are and how you think outside the confines of someone else’s platform is a critical part of any organisation’s digital strategy.

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Ditch the pitch, start the conversation

Digital Strategy, Social Media0 Comments

Digital Media published an article recently written by B&T writers based on a study by Light Speed Research that said Australians and Japanese were more resistant to overtures from brands on social networks.

This was in contrast to their peers in India and China who were more likely to have their opinions of a brand improved if they were engaged via social media channels.

Aussies and Japanese, it seems, are far more sceptical of social media efforts such as brand-created online videos and sponsored content, but were far more receptive to having conversations directly with bloggers about their products and services.

Anything that even carries the merest scent of ‘a sell’ is regarded unfavourably as customers seek proper interaction and engagement rather than a sales pitch dressed as ‘entertainment.’ Unsolicited engagement from companies in particular was viewed quite negatively with just 7% of Australian respondents and 9% of Japanese having a positive view of a brand befriending them on a social network.

What this means is that getting social media right is not a case of signing up and friend requesting every potential customer you can find. It’s about leveraging these networks to start a relationship with them.

Just like making friends offline, you need to find some common ground and then gain their trust and respect by being a good citizen, not by being a shark.

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