Tag Archives: viral and buzz marketing

Adobe fight myths with metrics in Marketing Cloud

Man wired up to Adobe's 'BS' detector to separate myths from metrics

This post is provided by our partner Adobe

In their continuing fight to ride the wave of emerging technology and tame the data collected from social media, marketers have a new suite of tools to arm their brands with.

Focused on metrics, not myths, Adobe’s Marketing Cloud helps marketers turn their data into insight and actions quicker, providing a single service that pulls together data from social interactions and targeted advertising to help marketers get ahead. Read More »

The future of advertising and agencies

This week, the IPA published a report snappily titled Social Media Futures – The future of advertising and agencies in a networked society. A 10-year perspective, the launch of which was covered both by the FT:

Two-thirds of advertising agencies are not prepared for the industry changes prompted by social networks and new forms of digital media

and Campaign:

For agencies used to what one senior executive calls a “broadcast mindset”, the social networking phenomenon and the way it empowers consumers can seem seriously scary. Which makes this week’s warning from the IPA that, when it comes to social media, the majority of agencies “aren’t getting it” all the more disturbing.

The Campaign piece includes some good analysis of the state of play, including this from Mark Collier, Managing Partner at Dare:

Social media should be viewed as a discipline in its own right and doing it properly will require genuine specialists who live and breathe it. But it will need to be closely allied to core marketing strategy and execution if it is to be relevant and effective.

And this from Steve Henry, the former TBWA\London Executive Creative Director:

The current agency model needs rethinking because it’s run out of steam. Remember that a lot of digital agencies are ten years old and you have to ask if they’re flexible enough to seize the opportunities on behalf of clients. Many clients are starting to feel that the agency they need doesn’t exist. That’s to say one that understands the mechanics of social networking as well as delivering the upstream strategy and thinking.

These are the very reasons we set-up We Are Social in June last year (combined with a similar malaise in the PR industry), and I’m confident that what we’re doing addresses Mark and Steve’s concerns head on.

As part of the launch of the report, the IPA also held an event on Monday evening, which Nathan, Sandrine and myself went along to – nicely summed up by PHD’s Dan Hosford:

Essentially, the IPA gathered a group of industry social media champions across agencies & media owners. Then bored them

There’s more detail, if you want it, in posts from Anjali Ramachandran, Graeme Harrison, Amelia Torode and John V Willshire.

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Panasonic’s influencer campaign at CES

Bloggers Speak with Panasonic NA Chairman Yoshi Yamada

Brian Morrissey in Adweek covers the latest influencer campaign from Panasonic:

Among the hundreds of journalists at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week there are five people producing reams of copy, photos and video about the show, new product demos and press conferences. Unlike the reporters, though, they are popular bloggers in Las Vegas courtesy of Panasonic.

The Panasonic program is one of several undertaken by brands carving out a new take on the old notion of advertorial. Rather than relying on magazines, they are contracting with influential bloggers who bring with them their own powerful distribution networks. Rather than a long-form narrative, content is fit for the Web via blog posts, Twitter updates and YouTube videos. And the key differentiator: instead of dictating the content to lead to a sale, brands typically keep their distance to maintain credibility.

Panasonic wanted to build cachet among Internet influencers for its array of tech products. As part of its “Living in High Definition” push, Crayon [a social media agency] recruited five bloggers to travel to CES on Panasonic’s dime. Panasonic footed the bill for their travel and passes to the event while also loaning them digital video and still cameras. The bloggers, which include popular Internet figures Chris Brogan and Steve Garfield, will also meet with Panasonic executives and preview products.

It’s good to see the sort of work we’re doing getting mainstream coverage in Adweek and that savvy brands like Panasonic understand the competitive advantage campaigns like this can bring.

However, Brian is wrong to view these sort of campaigns as ‘advertorial’ (and in the same article bracket them with ‘pay per post’ type campaigns) – what Panasonic have done (and we do with our influencer campaigns and advocacy programmes) is generate genuine, emotive and far-reaching Word of Mouth, which is substantively different to crude advertorial (or even dispassionate editorial) copy.

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Five social media New Year’s resolutions for your business

I thought I’d take a crack at compiling a list of five social media New Year’s resolutions that apply to all businesses, large and small. If you’re wondering why these resolutions are important, find out why my company does what it does or subscribe to our blog.

1. Learn by doing. Reading blog posts from the great and good of social media is a good way to stay abreast of the latest trends and techniques, but you’ll only really start to understand the potential and significance of social media by using it yourself. And while there may be political and budgetary barriers to overcome before getting your company engaging in social media, there’s no excuse not to take part yourself on an individual level. So, get going! – Join the conversation on Twitter, poke some long lost school friends on Facebook, upload your holiday snaps to Flickr, have a play at being a DJ on Blip.fm, brush-up your profile on LinkedIn, find a community of people or a blogger who shares your interests and even consider setting up your own blog.

2. Start listening. People are talking about brands at all hours of every day, in countless forms of social media, and you can guarantee that somewhere they’re talking about your business and that it’s having an impact on your bottom line. While I’d advise companies that it pays to get expert help with this, especially to understand the actions you need to take as a result of these conversations, a good first step is to start listening with some of the freely available tools out there – set-up some Google and Twitter alerts, try out the Social Media Firehose, find the communities who discuss your business on a regular basis and most importantly, click through and read the conversations and hear what people are saying.

3. Put a strategy in place. The impact of social media crosses existing organisational structures which makes it hard for one person or department to take ownership. Ideally a comprehensive strategy would involve Marketing, Corporate Communications, Customer Service, Product Development, Market Research, Legal and Human Resources. It’s not going to be easy, which is why you might consider working with a specialist consultancy to achieve this.

4. Start blogging. We advise all of our clients to do this, regardless of what business they’re in. A blog is a good way of reaching a really important constituency of your customer base – the ones that care enough about you to read your blog, as well as the press, shareholders and other key stakeholders. However, the real reason we make this recommendation is the transformative effect it has on businesses – it forces you to be conversational, and quickly allows you to work through a microcosm of the changes that social media will inevitably force on your business anyway. Some good example blogs to show your colleagues are Avis’ We Try Harder, Waitrose’s The Grocer’s Blog, Glasses Direct, innocent drinks, the Majestic Wine blog, Orange’s The Feed, Littlewood’s Love Label and SpinVox’s blog.

5. Start engaging. You can do this in many ways, whether it’s someone from your customer service department responding in real time to people complaining about issues on forums, inviting some relevant influential bloggers to your next press event, or incorporating a conversational element to your next marketing campaign. Bring in some external expertise, test a few different approaches out and learn from the experience – and above all else, be interesting, relevant and honest.

That’s it – if you stick even to two or three of these resolutions you’ll be better placed than most of your competitors to navigate your way through the combined challenges of the recession and the changes social media are bringing to the business landscape.

Robin Grant is the Founder and Managing Director of We Are Social, a specialist consultancy that helps brands to listen, understand and engage in conversations in social media. As part of you following the first resolution, feel free to say hi to him on Twitter

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Social media more popular than ever

An almost unbelievable couple of graphs from Robin Goad at Hitwise, the first showing that 10.09% of all UK internet visits last week were to ‘Social Networking and Forums’.

UK Social Media traffic Dec '07 - Dec '08

And the second showing Facebook’s inexorable growth.

UK Facebook traffic Dec '07 - Dec '08

There’s some more in depth data available in Hitwise’s UK Social Networking Update
from July this year, and it’s worth remembering these sort of growth
curves apply across social media, with this graph showing a similarly
stratospheric rise in UK blog traffic.

UK blog traffic May '05 - Jun '08

As Robin Goad said at the time:

over the last 3 years UK Internet traffic to out Blogs
and Personal Websites category has increased by 208%, compared to 70%
for News and Media. Another interesting fact is that the market share
of blogs is greater in the UK than the USA: 1.09% and 0.73%
respectively in May.

The trend also seems to apply even to Twitter

UK Twitter traffic Jul '07 - Jul '08

Again, a nice quote from Robin Goad:

UK Internet visits to Twitter have increased by 631%
over the last 12 months, with 485% of that growth coming this year.
Twitter is more popular with Brits than Americans: last week the site’s
share of UK Internet visits was 70% higher its share of visits in
America. Twitter cannot yet be considered mainstream in the USA, but in
the UK it’s getting there.

I’d also point out that the Twitter data above pre-dates the Stephen Fry effect (disclosure: Stephen is a client of We Are Social‘s and we helped him get going on Twitter).

Roll on 2009…

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How to choose a social media agency

Philip Buxton, the former editor of Revolution, has written a great checklist for brands choosing a social media agency:

  1. A new approach – since everyone claims to ‘do’ social, look for those seeking to develop new models for approaching it, not those seeking to map on their existing models
  2. Technology – everyone claims to have unique talent, to be ‘leading’, to have great clients, and real expertise. Technology, fortunately, can’t be faked, demonstrates genuine investment and expertise, and really can be proprietary and unique. So, which agency has developed/is developing their own technology to support their new approach?
  3. Measurement – the true value of real engagement by brands in social media is really hard to measure. I’ll be dropping my bank as soon as I don’t need them anymore because of the way it treated me when I was a student – good social media strategy will have a similarly long-lasting effect. Nonetheless, some agencies are having a very credible stab at it. Just steer clear of the ones who claim it’s that simple
  4. Existing credentials – being good at something, in my view, is a transferable skill. Muhammad Ali liked to say that if he’d been a dustman (I’m translating of course), he’d have been the best dustman in the world. I believe him. So, is the agency now claiming to be brilliant at social media brilliant at what it already does?
  5. Case studies – trade journalists will tell you that finding people to talk about social media is not a problem. Finding people that have real projects to talk about is a good deal more difficult. What has the agency really done in this area?

My shortlist would be made up only of agencies that tick all five boxes

At We Are Social, we would agree with him…

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The outlook for 2009

Econsultancy have published a good overview of the economic outlook in 2009 for the digital marketing industry, with one of the data sources quoted being Wednesday’s eMarketer report predicting 7.2% growth in UK online ad spend.

Just like the Group M report earlier this month, although there’s bad news for those in the industry who have yet to wake up to the changes that social media is bringing to people’s behaviour, there’s good news for those of us that have:

Time and time again, when we meet with companies, we are asked about social media marketing strategies. Whilst this covers social networks, it is likely we will see a rise in businesses actively trying to engage with users through other social means online.

Tying in with the forecast that social media will continue to grow, is that despite a recessive economy, online marketers will look to alternative ways of measuring success – rather than just a standard ROI model.

This has been mentioned before, but to recap: measurements of success also include customer retention and satisfaction (all the more important in a recession), the rate of customer acquisition and the net promoter score.

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The wiggly world of social media

Little did I know that setting up We Are Social would lead to such glamorous opportunities. For example, yesterday I was asked to appear on Small Business Advice TV to talk about social media marketing and in particular, the example of Wiggly Wigglers, winners of the inaugural Global Dell Small Business Excellence Award for their use of social media. You can watch the show here:

It’s well worth watching the segments where Heather from Wiggly Wigglers talks about their experiences – they really did deserve that award and it makes a great case study for businesses large and small.

It was a fun half hour. Thank you to Russell Goldsmith and Dell’s Kerry Bridge for inviting me to contribute.

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The dangers of artificial word of mouth

Take your pick – you can read this guidance note from the IPA, a little dry, but useful to understand where the law stands on the issue – or you can read this short story by Hari Kunzru which will be of less practical use but will leave you moved…

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The Connected Agency

Forrester have just released a new report, The Connected Agency, which anyone interested in what agencies will look like in 5 years time should read (it's free, but you need to register first). Brian Morrissey sums it up:

In Forrester's view, a simple fact is driving the need for wrenching change in how advertising agencies are structured: consumers increasingly do not trust marketing messages. Instead, they rely on advice from friends and others in their various communities to make product decisions, while using tech tools to tune out ad messages they deem irrelevant.

Simon Andrews, Digital Chief Strategy Officer at Mindshare, also comments:

Being a factory dedicated to producing 30 second commercials, websites, banners and buttons or mail packs is not a viable business in an age where consumers are AdAvoiders and media is evolving so fast.

Update: Peter Kim has rounded up the reaction to the report.

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