Posts tagged 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?

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

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.

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?

Curators of Sweden: Making Twitter Personal

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sweden

Looking for an interesting social media experiment? Check out Curators of Sweden. Each week, a new citizen of Sweden takes over the Twitter account for the tourism group Visit Sweden. The campaign was created by Stockholm agency Volontaire, with the approval of the government.

So what can you expect to find? So far, according to the ever-changing Twitter bio, curators of Sweden have included a Bosnian immigrant, a sheep-herder, and a journalist. Each curator talks about the country, his or her daily life, and anything else that might interest people who want to know more about Sweden.

Sure, there are risks. Someone could make off with the password and run amok with the account. But what’s actually happening is the essence of social–real people talking about what it’s like to live and work in their country.

So, how could this work for your brand? And are you even willing to try?

Photo by hellojenuine. via Flickr.

A Question of Trust

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Handcuffs

David Meerman Scott has a great post about why it matters whether an employer lets you use social media at work. One sentence sums it up nicely: “When companies ban social networking, the best employees leave. They sense they are not trusted.”

So, if you’re an employer, here are a few questions for you:

  • Are your employees getting their work done on time?
  • Do you let your employees access social media sites at work?
  • Do you let them check their personal e-mail?
  • Will you find ways to incorporate regular telecommuting on at least a part-time basis?

If you answered “yes” to the first question and “no” to any of the others, then I have only one more question for you:

Why did you hire so many people you don’t trust?

Also, you may want to ask yourself if you’re really as good a boss as you think you are.

Photo by Txspiked, via Flickr.

Shut Up

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Listen to your kids

Social media is not about “creating a narrative” and “delivering interesting stories to your audience.” And branding is not telling people what you stand for.

I take it back. Of course, both those are the case. But they’re far, far from the whole story. As marketers, we’ve always been able to create narratives, deliver interesting stories, and tell people what we stand for.

What social media does is let people tell us if we’re right. The best thing you can do with social media is not push, and not engage. It’s listen.

That doesn’t mean you don’t talk, that you don’t share content. Content is vital. Good content. But use that content as a starting point. How do people respond to it? How do they respond to you? And when do they initiate contact?

Your audience will tell you what your brand is. They’re the ones who see what you put out there, not what you think you put out there. They’ll tell you what that means. Listen to them.

Be their audience.

Photo by Bindaas Madhavi, via Flickr.

We’d All Be Better Off if the “Reply All” Button Just Went Away

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Seriously, it’s still causing trouble. You’d think by now we’d all have learned to be more careful, but no. Check out this post from Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess (also available at @thebloggess).

I’ve had my own corporate run-ins, although not involving pitches. In the past few years I’ve gone to war with AT&T and TiVo over service and billing issues. I’ve won, and the reason I’ve won is that I was right, and I put social media tools to use. I even told the TiVo supervisor that I was going to do it. Fair warning, I say. So why would anyone broadcast that response regarding a blogger with a huge, devoted audience?

Don’t try to one-up snark with insults. It doesn’t work, and it’ll get out somehow. That’s how it works these days. More of us need to learn that. Yes, we’re all human, and yes, we all make mistakes. But maybe it’s time to retire “Reply All.”

Are You as Real as Vin Diesel?

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Yes, I’m a Vin Diesel fan. Does it mean I love all of his movies? Of course not–I haven’t even seen all of them. Does it mean every one of his roles resonates with me? No, but I can’t say that about any actor (not even you, Daniel Day-Lewis). But for those of you dismissing Diesel based on “The Pacifier” and your dislike of movies about reckless driving, I say this: Have you seen “Find Me Guilty”? No? Well, then, go rent “Find Me Guilty.” Sidney Lumet was onto something: the man’s got range.

Plus he’s been working for years to make a movie about Hannibal of Carthage. As a history geek myself, I can tell you that you have to have paid attention to remember Hannibal of Carthage. I’m not sure why there haven’t already been movies made about him–he took on the Roman Republic. With elephants. But there haven’t been movies made. He’s obscure enough that most people have never heard of him. The fact that Vin Diesel is so committed to this idea tells me that Vin Diesel is interested in things, and that makes him interesting.

But what’s also interesting is the way he uses social media.

A couple of years ago, I became one of the 27 million fans of his Facebook page. And what’s clear about his page is this: The person posting on it? Is actually Vin Diesel. That’s not a publicist or an assistant.

He posts photos from the sets and from his travels. He shares memories from his childhood. He puts up photos and art created about him by his fans. And he clearly values those fans and their support. In Likeable Social Media, Dave Kerpen (CEO of Likeable Media) writes:

Why is Vin so popular on Facebook? In a word, it’s his authenticity. . . . Vin is real with people.

When it comes to public figures, we spend a lot of time waiting for the other shoe to drop. Someone’s always lying to us. So if you think about it, there’s something nice about the fact that Vin Diesel does his own Facebook stunts.

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