Posts tagged Twitter

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 element 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?

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?

To Boldly Post: George Takei and Social Media

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I once heard a marketing executive say, “I think of Twitter as something that 20-somethings do.”

Well, she clearly hasn’t been paying attention to George Takei. The 75-year-old actor and activist has become a social media heavyweight, with over 299,000 followers on Twitter and over 1.2 million likes on Facebook.

But it isn’t his numbers that are so incredible—there are plenty of brands, celebrities, and organizations that can boast more fans. What’s noteworthy about Takei is his level of engagement.

In her post “George Takei: Facebook Hero” on Commerce Kitchen, Natalie Winslow points out the share rates on Takei’s Facebook posts–in one case, more than 10,600 shares on a single photo, compared to 708 on a photo on Coca-Cola’s page. Obviously one post doesn’t make a case–but this is not an isolated incident. Takei’s recent photo posts have share rates ranging from some 3,000 shares to over 25,000.

Roni Weiss’s RW Social post “Whose brand is stronger: George Takei or Starbucks?” answers its own question–George Takei–by comparing “Who’s talking about this” numbers for each Facebook page. Can we expand on this? As I write this, I can find the following corresponding numbers for Facebook pages:

Starbucks: 339,272 (over 29,000,000 likes)
McDonald’s: 780,873 (over 17,000,000 likes)
Nike: 796,869 (over 8,000,000 likes)
George Takei: 584,907 (1,265,789 likes)

Want to compare him to other celebrities? Lady Gaga’s page has 650,076 people talking about it–and she’s got more than 49,000,000 likes–more than 40 times as many as Takei. Dwayne The Rock Johnson, who Mashable readers voted the “Must-Follow Actor or Actress on Social Media,” has 220,000 people talking about his page.

Forty-six percent of Takei’s fans are talking about him. The others don’t even come close.

So what’s the secret to his Facebook success? I see several:

Frequency
He’s very active, posting multiple times a day.

Authenticity
He posts about gay rights and the World War II internment of Japanese Americans–causes that matter deeply to him. The first thing I saw was this YouTube video he made in response to anti-gay remarks made by a school board member in Arkansas:

You can often find him posting on heartfelt topics like this on Facebook and Twitter–and also about his hatred of the “Twilight” franchise.

Humor
He’s not just about the causes. Takei has several posts a day that are flat-out funny.

User-Generated Content
Business Week quoted Takei as saying, “True to my base, I like to find fan-generated images that are in the world of science fiction, especially Star Trek or Star Wars—both are franchises that I have worked in.” Many of his posts originate with fans–and he indicates this. In fact, his current cover photo is the result of a fan caption contest.

Knowing His Audience
It’s the first rule of comedy, and it’s also true for communication. George Takei knows who his fans are, and he’s paid attention to what they like–which means he’s very good at delivering it.

And the results are clear. So, how can you go boldly?

Guest Post by Adam Paul: Simple Is As Simple Does

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I’m delighted to introduce my first guest post, written by Adam Paul. Adam is the executive producer of The Steps, a web drama that has recently started its second season. (Disclosure: One of the creators, Dylan Kussman, is a close friend, and I am a contributor to the Kickstarter campaign that funded this season.)

In addition to creative work on the (very) small screen, The Steps has showcased innovative and integrated marketing through myriad social media channels, using a variety of tactics based on larger strategic goals, as Adam explains:

As an independent producer of web and television filmed content, I should be much more savvy about marketing via social media than I am. Working with lower budgets just to get the story told, never mind marketed to the public, you’d think I’d have a firm grip on the ins and outs of using Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about my product.

But I don’t. It seems I’m always learning about some new way to cleverly reach out to an audience. A contest or survey or targeted ad or email campaign. But I’ve come to accept recently that that’s the nature of the beast. If new content is the fuel on which the internet runs, then social networking is the Internet’s true combustion engine. And there will always be a myriad of ways to fill the engine’s tank.

My current series, ‘The Steps’, is now in its second season. During the first season, we gave away a Dell netbook via a Twitter hashtag campaign and premiered the series at a ‘Device Party’ which encouraged participants to bring their own connected platform – be it smartphone or laptop or tablet – to our party event, join the wifi network there and simultaneously view the first episode together. We took out Facebook ads, rigorously administered our pages and found multiple distribution partners to screen our series to the widest possible audience.

The Steps

While our budget was raised entirely via Kickstarter.com’s brilliant site and a strong outreach to our production team’s networks, this year we’re utilizing far fewer event-based methods to actually promote the series. Aside from a weekly new episode release (Thursdays at www.WatchTheSteps.com), we’re letting the show gain traction through the simplest of marketing techniques: word of mouth.

Despite a compelling premise and world class production values, ‘The Steps’ is a unique animal in the world of web series –

  • It’s a drama (a noir thriller, to be exact)
  • It takes its time – far from boring, our series is a particular type of tale, with richly textured characters, strong imagery, and an overarching story that requires some investment from the viewer.
  • Like life, it’s complicated – the story’s hero, Charlie Madison, is a private eye with a habit of getting into trouble. He gets in his own way. He may have even killed his last girlfriend. He’s a human being who’s made mistakes, can’t forgive himself, but trudges on and tries to do the right thing.

That’s a lot to pitch to a new audience in a blurb or even a press release.

And so, our most recent revelation in the world of social media marketing has been this:

That’s right. A badge. We’ve asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter to use it as their profile picture for a week. Then we’ll change it up with another image from the show each week as we roll episodes out.

Simple, no? But very effective. No one has to beg their friends to check it out. Those who like the show just change their profile picture. Yes, we seed our social network pages with behind the scenes stills and notes from the creator of the show during the week between episodes. We keep topping off the tank of that engine so it can run loud and strong. But this little badge has proven to be the best way to get our name in front of the maximum number of eyeballs. Our followers wear it with pride, their followers see the bold url, and hopefully, just hopefully, we’ve penetrated their subconscious with our three-word call to action.

Adam Paul is the founder of Giantleap Industries, a digital studio that develops multi-platform content to bridge the divide between television, the web and wherever else you’re watching. ‘The Steps’ is currently rolling out new episodes of its second season at www.WatchTheSteps.com, Youtube.com/TheStepsWebSeries, Koldcast.tv and Blip.tv

All images provided by Adam Paul.

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.

The New, New, New Twitter

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Does it seem like Twitter‘s been changing a lot lately? It seems like they just introduced the @yourusernamehere tab, and now they’ve moved on to @Connect and #Discover instead.

(Not everyone has the new format yet; I don’t, at least on the website, but I am seeing the mobile version on my iPhone).

Mashable has a nice slideshow that explains the new design and structure. And if you’re wondering why it happened, Edelman Digital’s blog points out that it should nicely support Twitter’s new brand pages.

And if you think Twitter’s changed a lot in recent months, take a look at the homepage (slide 6) when it launched in 2006.

Sunday Television: Advertising Winners and Losers

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Winner: American Express

Great use of Twitter in your ads! I like the inclusion of tweets regarding how people have used their rewards. (They’re real, right?)

Loser: General Electric

Christy’s mom is “weird,” says Christy, a perky, soccer-playing 9-year-old. “Christy’s mom deserves a cancer treatment that’s as unique as she is,” says GE. Takeaway: Christy’s mom has cancer. Don’t tell Christy. Seriously, GE?

What advertising winners and losers have you seen lately?

Verizon Wireless and Twitter Success

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EnV

I’ve been a Verizon Wireless customer for seven years. For most of that time (maybe all of it), I’ve had LG phones. They work well, and I really like the way they organize contacts so that I don’t have to scroll through every single number a person has.

When I started texting, I realized that I wanted a full-keyboard phone, and at my next “upgrade” I bought the LG EnV. I love this phone (see above for someone else’s picture of it). It’s compact, the keyboard is easy to use, and the screen, while small, is pretty clear. The downside is that getting to the camera functions is a little cumbersome, but I don’t use the camera on this phone that much anyhow.

But it was starting to get a little bedraggled, and it seemed like the battery wasn’t holding a charge for as long as it used to. And then Verizon Wireless started calling me about upgrading.

So I got the LG Cosmos Touch. And pretty much from Day One, I hated it. This is the LG Cosmos with a touch screen, and wow, is that one annoying touch screen. It was unresponsive, except for when it was hyper reactive. I never knew when it was ringing–I keep my phone on vibrate, and for the first time, I could neither hear nor feel it when it would go off in a bag I was holding. And it kept pushing things at me–buy this app, link to this site, use this function. That’s not what I want when I unlock my phone so I can make a call. I want to make a call, for crying out loud.

It probably won’t come as a big surprise that when I lost the phone, I wasn’t terribly sad about it. No, I just went to my nearest Verizon store to scope out replacements. And that’s when I realized that not only would I have to pay full price (because I’d already gotten my two-year upgrade with the hated Cosmos Touch), but the cheapest phone I could buy was the regular Cosmos. The sales rep said that the push marketing was “probably” because of the touch screen, and that shouldn’t be a problem with this one. Of course, he also said that the cheapest thing for me to do would be to add another line to the account, when a really basic round of division told me that doing that would be more than twice as expensive as replacing the phone.

So I snarked a bit on Twitter and went back to work. On the way home, I found that Verizon Wireless had found my tweet–which didn’t even contain a hashtag (so, nice searching, @VZWSupport!) and responded. An exchange or two later, and I had my solution: I charged and reactivated the EnV.

And now I like my phone again. I even know when I get a call or text. Imagine that!

Photo by tjshirey, via Flickr.

Google+: A Guide to Guides

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So you’ve gotten an invitation to Google+ and you’re not sure what to do next. Is it the new Facebook? The new Twitter? The new LinkedIn? You can find people using it like all of these, as well as people who seem to be using it in a way all their own. But where to start? Here are a few primers produced by early adopters, with tips you may find useful.

Chris Brogan has some suggestions and some how-to videos to offer. He recommends starting with security settings, to make sure that you’re sharing in the way you intend.

The Huffington Post has tips about circles, who to follow, and more. They’ve also got suggestions about “sparks” and “hangouts.”

Already active on Google+? You might be interested in Jeff Bullas‘s ideas about how to increase your followers.

Christina Trapolino encourages you to look at Google+ as its own service, rather than a new Facebook. She’s got some interesting points to make about how interaction on Google+ is different than on Facebook, and what that means to her.

And if you’re wondering how Google+ will change as people use and respond to the service, well, right now only Google knows. But a Geek.com post by Matthew Humphries points to some possibilities.

So go forth, +1 to your heart’s content, and build your Google+ world in a way that makes sense to you. It’s an odyssey of discovery.

Fun With Marketing

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In another life, I wrote an econ textbook. In my head, the working title was “Fun With Economics.” Ludicrous? Maybe, but it helped me focus on creating content that was as engaging as possible.

Sometimes it’s easier to have fun. Orange, a UK communications company (although with that name, I was expecting them to be based in the Netherlands) has found a way to play around with Twitter. The approach is goofy and just a little bit snarky, but not mean-spirited. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this brought them more attention–and in a good way.

So are you going to give the #thissummer hashtag a try? Or have you got your own ideas for social media fun and games?

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