Social Media

Marketing Isn’t News

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There’s something going around on Facebook and Twitter, and it represents a lack of critical thinking.

The gist of it is this: Author Wednesday Martin has uncovered a phenomenon that she discusses in her upcoming book Primates of Park Avenue. Allegedly, wealthy Manhattan moms are hiring disabled people to join them on trips to Disney World so that they and their actual families can jump the line.

Now, clearly this would be abuse of Disney’s policies. And you may or may not feel that it’s taking advantage of another person–the moms in question are using someone else’s physical condition for their own benefit, but on the other hand someone’s getting a free trip, and possibly payment in addition to that.

But is it really news?

I say no, and here’s why.

Every article and report I’ve seen refers to the same source: The New York Post. Every article uses the phrase I used above: wealthy Manhattan moms. Every article uses the same unattributed quote from “one mom.”

And those elements set off my skepticism meter.

There’s both not enough detail (the lack of variety and the lack of names) and too much (“wealthy” “Manhattan” “moms”). The details that exist seem calculated to push class-issue buttons.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no doubt that some people do this. Name anything, good or bad, and somebody does it. But I really doubt that it’s as widespread as Wednesday Martin wants us to think.

So I took a look at not only the articles, but Wednesday Martin. She has a Ph.D. in comparative literature, and her other book is called Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel and Act the Way We Do. And on her website, there is a large, impossible-to-avoid button that says, “Tell Oprah you want to see a show about women with stepchildren.”

WednesdayMartinWebsite_crop

As you may have guessed from the subtitle, Wednesday Martin has stepchildren.

What we have here is not news. It is not a societal phenomenon. It is a marketing campaign.

Shouldn’t CNN and Time be seeing that, too?

QR Codes: Location, Location, Location

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I’ve written about how to use QR codes. I think it’s also important to think about where you’re using them. You want them to be easy to find and identify. What do you think about these approaches?

Simon & Schuster is starting to put QR codes on dustjackets; they’re hoping to drive subscriptions to their newsletters. Thought: If you read print books, are you going to appreciate this? If you read digital books, are you going to see it?

The Metro newspaper chain in Canada is using QR codes to promote their mobile edition. Thought: The micro-newspaper box–or is it nano?–is either adorable or invisible, depending on whether you look there.

QR code on Mine Bats van

Mine Bats puts a QR code on one of the rear doors of their distributors’ vans. Thought: Friends don’t let friends drive while scanning QR codes–but too many of us are already ignoring hands-free legislation, so this is probably smart.

And if you’re looking for some flat-out FAIL when it comes to QR code placement, you may enjoy WTF QR Codes. Don’t try those at home.

Photo by John Lisiewicz

Parody and Social Media, Meet Shell Oil

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One of these things is not like the other. But the detail of design and link text makes it hard for the casual viewer to decipher. Nicely done, unless you’re the target.

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Infographic: Social Media and Higher Ed

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Where does your college or university–the one you work at, or the one you went to–fit in?

Surviving the College Dining Hall
Via: Online Universities Blog

The Best Time to . . .

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Mashable has an article about the best times to post on Twitter and Facebook. The answer for Twitter: Monday between 1 and 3 p.m., east coast time. For Facebook: Any weekday between 1 and 4, but particularly on Wednesdays at 3.

Which is great, unless everyone does it at once. Then it’s pretty much the worst time, because you’ll just get lost in the noise. As Matt McGee points out, “there’s no magical time to publish.”

As he explains, you need to take a look at when your audience is online–what gets the greatest response? When did you post it, and when did people respond? Keep the quality of your content high, and be open to the unexpected. That makes a lot more sense than assuming that there’s one answer for everyone.

Besides, don’t those days and times sound like you’re James T. Kirk setting up a game of Fizbin?

Make the Most of Pinterest

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This infographic from Edelman Digital really sums things up nicely. Take a look–is there more you can do to increase your effectiveness?

Social Check-Up

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laptop and stethoscope

The Consumerist points out that 13 million people have left the default Facebook privacy settings in place. Don’t be one of them.

Karlyn Borysenko of HoneyB Social Media & Digital Communications writes about deciding if Pinterest is a good fit for your brand. She makes a point that I think a lot of people forget: it’s okay to try something and then stop if it doesn’t work. If your core audience isn’t on a particular channel, it’s okay to stop using it. But if they are, well, aren’t you glad you tried? Keep on keepin’ on.

Mashable reports that 49% of marketers have not made social media part of their larger strategies. Don’t be one of them, either.

Photo by jfcherry, via Flickr.

As Long As Your Money’s Green . . .

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Money - Savings

. . . does it matter how many X chromosomes you have?

Pinterest is a hot topic, and one of the most newsworthy points is that 97 percent of Pinterest’s Facebook fans are women. So it’s easy for some people to dismiss it.

But Pinterest drives huge amounts of traffic to other sites, and that ultimately means sales. Who buys things? Women. In fact, girltalk points out that women make or influence 85 percent of all purchasing decisions, including over 50 percent of cars, home improvement items, electronics, and other “guy” products.

At the same time, girltalk reports, “91% of women say that advertisers don’t understand them.”

So if women make up just over half the population, and the majority of purchases, what does that say about how good a job advertisers are doing at reaching them?

My advice: Get to know us. Look at who women are, and what they want, and what they do. And don’t dismiss those things because “they’re women.” If you want money, you’re going to have to ask us. Nicely. Because we’re the ones who decide how it gets spent. And as Michael Brito points out, we know how to share information. Make sure we have good information to share about you.

Photo by 401k, via Flickr.

Facebook and Privacy: The Continuing Saga

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Facebook keeps making its social ads more social. Don’t want to be associated with that? Step through this Mashable slideshow for information about how to opt out of social ads on Facebook.

Looking for a new job? How would you react if your potential employer asked for your Facebook password? Right now that’s legal in all 50 states. How would you handle that request?

Zonealarm provides an infographic that sums up social media privacy habits, based on Pew research. Take a look–which parts reflect your practices?

What Does Your Audience Want?

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What does your audience care about? In “Lost & Found: The Next Generation of Alumni Donors,” Fran Zablocki looks specifically at alumni and why many of them don’t give. But his suggestion–focus on what interests them, not on what you think is important–hold true far beyond the world of alumni associations and university development.

Brian Solis talks about how “Social media is about social science not technology.” He points out that too many marketers don’t ask their audience about what they want, or how they benefit–which means that too many marketers are making decisions based on guesswork, not data.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that tablet ownership among college students has more than tripled, and that in a sharp reversal of last year’s results, they prefer electronic texts to print editions. So is this a new trend? And how if you’re in the business of producing materials for college students, what do you do about it?

And it’s not just college students. Encyclopaedia Britannica is no more–at least, in its traditional print format. People want instantly updated information at their fingertips, and there’s no way to provide that in print–plus, at more than $1,300 a set, it’s something of an aspirational item. The only problem is that fewer and fewer people are aspiring to it.

So what does your audience want? And are you sure?

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