30 October 2008

Could Be Thicker

Something that has always bugged me is how people suggest good bloggers should be consistent with their content.

I don't understand why this medium of new media needs to comply with traditional media practises.

My Dad reads his newspaper every morning. Therefore his news paper must land on his doorstep at 6am each day. But I don't read the newspaper, I have an my RSS Feed. I want things to come in as they are published, not once a day at the same time.

I try to post every second day. But sometimes it's longer and sometimes it's shorter. People subscribe to my blog and pull my feed into their reader when a post is published. So why does my content need to be consistent?

28 October 2008

3 Levels Of Engagement

I was on another episode of the Gen Y Marketing Podcast and Nat, who incidentally has a great little blog, suggested there should bee some sort of framework on the levels of engagement when it came to social media. I couldn't find anything so here are my thoughts.

Unless you're specifically targeting a certain group of evangelists, every campaign should have three levels; Low, Medium and High...

These are usually the consumers you simply broadcast to. Little interaction with the brand takes place and at this level consumers are not all that passionate or loyal toward your brand.

On the episode we discussed the recent Dunlop Volley campaign. At this level of engagement, it is the consumer who just see the ads. Another example is the television series Lost, and again on this level the consumer would just be watching the show.

Here things step up a bit and the consumer seeks further interaction with your brand. They become more engaged and to do so they might head to the Dunlop Volley website and look around or purchase a season of Lost on DVD and watch the Special Features. Some evangelism starts to develop on this level.

These are your most loyal and most passionate brand evangelists and they want more interaction with the brand than anyone else. These consumers want to create their own UGC for Dunlop Volleys. These were the ones leading the pack on Lost's massive ARG. As a marketer, these consumers are worth the most do you.

With that said, sometimes it might be appropriate to target your campaigns at only one or two levels of engagement. McDonald's went for a mass approach with their Name It Burger campaign. This was done on the Low level where you simply had to enter a name and you were done. Pepsi asked consumers to design their own can. You were restricted to a basic design application on the website but this allowed for a lower barrier of entry and would be considered on the Medium level. Doritos ran the High level You Make It, We'll Play It campaign where consumers were encouraged to film, edit and submit a video online.

The question becomes do you run a campaign that allows for all three levels or specifically focuses on one? But as with most marketing questions, it depends on your brand, product, campaign and objective.

26 October 2008

Blogging Is Not So 2004

Following on from my previous post, Seth Godin and Tom Peters talk about the power and potential of blogging.

Take that Paul Boutin.

23 October 2008

+ Blogging Is So 2004

Check out this article by Paul Boutin which appeared in Wired Magazine a few days ago. Or even just read the opening line...
"Thinking about launching your own blog? Here's some friendly advice: Don't. And if you've already got one, pull the plug."
Just recently my blog celebrated its first birthday. I look at how much I have achieved given the fact I'm a nineteen year old student with no actual experience in the marketing industry and have not choice but to conclude that this dude is a tool.

Obviously I'm bias and my readership will be too (dur), but what do you think?

Thanks for the article, Wags.

21 October 2008

+ It's Easy To Be Remarkable...

... remarkably bad, that is.

I can't say enough about the importance of being remarkable. Seth Godin's Purple Cow is what they should be teaching in university marketing degrees. Matt Granfield loves it almost as much as I do.

But it's easy to be remarkable when you're product or service isn't good. But that's not the kind of remarkable you want to be.

19 October 2008

+ Spam Acting Up

Bigpond started using Twitter. At first they sucked. But it appears they've listened and turned things around. However during this process some legal implications were raised, specifically the Spam Act 2003.

After research of my own, speaking to the Australian Communications and Media Authority and getting in touch with Dr Melissa de Zwart from the Faculty of Law at Monash University, I have summarised the results...

Prior to my research I questioned whether this legislation might also include things like commenting on a blog or writing on my Facebook wall. However it is clear the Act does not cover this. Next I looked at something like Facebook Chat and whether this could be considered an Instant Message, however becoming friends with the brand would be adequate consent with the ability to defriend them acting as an unsubscribe option.

So this leaves two areas which are questionable. Sending a private message on Facebook, if considered an email, and replying to a user on Twitter who is not following you, if considered instant messaging.

According to Dr Melissa de Zwart, this is irrelevant as the Terms of Service by the hosting party cover this type of third party communication. You agree to these terms when you sign up.

So should brands be worried about any legal implications of the Spam Act 2003 when it comes to social media marketing?

No. Not at all.

But Dr Melissa de Zwart did suggest the definition of "spam" could do with an update.

17 October 2008

+ Happy First Birthday

Today my blog celebrates its first birthday. Over the past 366 days I have...
+ Posted 140 times.
+ Had 6,493 visits.
+ Had 10,383 pageviews.
+ Received 307 comments.
+ Peaked at 119 RSS Subscriptions.
+ Been mentioned in three editions of Marketing Magazine.
+ And once in B&T.
+ Appeared as a guest on Marketing Today and Gen Y Marketing Podcast.
+ Hit a rank of 29th for the Top Australian Marketing Bloggers.
+ Had an interview at Naked Communications.
+ Completed my first year at university.
+ Celebrated my nineteenth birthday.
Starting a blog was one of the best things I've done, and not only career wise. There are two people I need to thank...
+ Julian Cole, whom without, this blog would not exist.
+ Peter Wagstaff, who made marketing more interesting than it should have been.
+ And everyone else who subscribed to, linked to, commented on or just read my blog over the past year.
Thank you.

15 October 2008

+ Social Media Strategy: Broadcast

After identifying two approaches when it comes to social media marketing, yesterday's post discussed the first strategy of Response. The second strategy, discussed below is Broadcast.

Above the line is from marketer's point of view. Below it, is from the consumer's.

Before anything, the marketer must firstly produce content. Ideally this should be of something remarkable and with a high social currency value. This could be a video, Facebook application, podcast, blog or any even a press release.

In order for the content to be seen it is published on sites such as YouTube, Blogger or Facebook. In some case a microsite can be as effective. Ensure the barriers of viewing are low and that the content is easily spreadable. This can be done through a number of means such as allowing embed links for videos or giving consent for consumers to mashup your content.

Seeding your published material should not be done in an interruptive manner. Spamming is definitely not an option here and one step wrong here could ruin a whole campaign. It is vital that this is done in a way that adds value to a conversation, do not seed where you are not welcome or even encouraged to do so. And most importantly, be transparent, open and honest.

New media is not about pushing content onto consumers who don't want it. Ideally you want them pulling it from you. The Internet has allowed this to become a easy and automated process with technology such as RSS, email newsletters and even YouTube subscriptions. After seeding the content, consumers should have the option to subscribe to a feed or service. This should be consented and with the ability to unsubscribe. You know those consumers who sign up to your feed will be among the most loyal and passionate.

Once the consumers are pulling your content, it will begin to spread. Buzz will be generated and depending on the medium you might even some get some consumers producing user generated content.

Blendtec used this approach in October 2006 and it continues to remain a success with over 114,000 subscribed users on YouTube. If I ever decided to get a blender, I know which brand I'd purchase.

If you're interested, also take a look at Julian Cole's Social Media Marketing Framework and Laurel Papworth's definition of Social Media. Be sure to check out my other approach Response. Please feel free to offer any thoughts or critique.

14 October 2008

+ Social Media Strategy: Response

The way I see it, new media is the umbrella that encompasses everything from social media marketing to viral marketing to mobile marketing. Essentially, anything that does not interrupt a consumer with a great focus on consented, engaging and value providing content.

So what is social media? A few days of research, thinking and graphics work have lead me to two key strategies that can be undertaken when it comes to social media marketing. The first, which I'll be covering here is Response and the second, which I'll be posting tomorrow, is Broadcast.

Above the line is from marketer's point of view. Below it, is from the consumer's.

Before jumping into the pool it is important to test the water. Observe your consumer and community in focus from afar. Before posting a comment on someone's blog, you must first understand what they're talking about. You should be scoping the scene out to see if you can firstly join the conversation and secondly add to the conversation.

There are too many blogs, social network profiles, YouTube videos and tweets for you to respond to them all. After monitoring your consumer and community it is important to identify the most influential people within this niche. Using these opinion leaders and those with loyal audiences (not necessarily large), you will be able to more effectively and efficiently target your key customers.

After monitoring and identify the influential consumers within a community, you can now engage with them. This relationship might be a short or long but either way it should be a case of providing meaningful and relevant value to consumers and their community.

You have now engaged with the consumer and started a relationship which has been built on the mutual exchange of value. Here the marketer gives up control of the message and the community takes over with the creation of user generated content. It could be something small like establishing and spreading buzz online (or offline) through social networks or something much more involved like writing a blog post or publishing a video on YouTube.

The Body Shop do this extremely well. Not only do they have a blog (see Broadcast), but actively respond to influential bloggers. As a result, I'm creating content about them right now.

This is one of two strategies I have identified that could be used when approaching social media marketing. The other is Broadcast. Please feel free to offer any thoughts or critique.

Edit: I have since updated this model here.

13 October 2008

+ My Mo'tivation

Last year I questioned the intergration between Movember and research into men's health issues. This year, being a part of it, I see things a little differently.

While I don't really have the ability to actually grow a moustache, please donate. Or sign up, join team MO'NASH and raise money for a good cause. Thanks.

11 October 2008

+ All The Small Things

Sometimes it's the small things that make a real difference. And I'm not even talking about the remarkable stuff. That small something could be enough to motivate you, or de motivate you if it doesn't exist (see Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene Theory).

Can you imagine Google if you had to click on the text box every time you went to the homepage? Or the frustration someone has when they're shopping online, the page times out and they have to start again? Or even getting my morning coffee and not seeing a smile from the girl behind the counter?

If you're not going to be remarkable, at least get the small stuff right.

What small thing makes a difference to you? Good or bad, online or offline.

09 October 2008

+ Privacy Statement

Gen Y just doesn't care about their privacy.

Speaking as one of them, I am not worried about the information that goes up on my social networking profiles. I share personal information every day and tagged in photos every Monday morning after a big weekend. And there are some shocking ones.

The reason I bring this up is because Gen X's are constantly telling me that this is going to affect my career with employers frowning upon such behaviour. But I disagree. Sooner or later employers are going to release that the high majority of Gen Y have at least one Facebook photo that shows them partying, drinking or worse. Interestingly, I don't have a problem with complete transparency or the need to hide what I do in my own time.

What's going to be really interesting is when Gen Y takes a majority in the workplace and they (we) become the employers of the next generation, what ever they're called. Can you even imagine what the social norms will be then?

I actually have a link to my Facebook page in my email signature. And I send emails to potential future employers every day. I'm not worried about the photos they will see. Although sooner or later someone might realise I only have one suit and two shirts that I have to keep alternating.

08 October 2008

+ Only The Good Stuff

Take a look at this video...

I wouldn't say this is a perfect social media campaign, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. No banner ads and no spam.

Instead they've developed something for free and provided value to a community.

The biggest problem is the microsite. It's not up yet... fools.

05 October 2008

+ Freedom Of Content

Chris Anderson is pretty much a genius. His work on The Long Tail is pretty much amazing and his latest ideas about Free have really taken my interest.

A couple of weeks ago I posted some of my concepts for new media business models. A couple of days later David Armano posted this diagram which lead me to Chris's work.

In a moment of the light bulb going off in my head I realised my models almost perfectly fit the first three of his Models of Free.

Read both my post and his for a deeper understand but basically...
Punchbowl Model = Free 1 (direct cross subsidy, get one thing and pay for another)
Ninja Model = Free 2 (Ad supported, third party subsides second party)
Gervais Model and Radiohead Model = Free 3 ("Freemium", a few people subsidise everyone else)
I just thought it was really cool to see some of my ideas backed up by theory. Chris even blogged about it here.

01 October 2008

+ How Replying To This Could Be Illegal

We have a problem.

Its realisation comes after Telstra Bigpond raised a legal issue over their Twitter account.

They had worries about breaching the 2003 Spam Act. Currently, their legal department is trying to determine if their communications could be considered a commerical electronic message, in which case would be against the law.

The Australian Government Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has this to say about the issue...
The Spam Act 2003 prohibits the sending of spam, which is identified as a commercial electronic message sent without the consent of the addressee via email, short message service (SMS), multimedia message service (MMS) or instant messaging. The requirements under the Spam Act apply to all commercial electronic messages, including both bulk and individual messages.
Meanwhile the Australian Communications and Media Authority defines spam as...
Any message that doesn't meet the following three conditions is defined as spam...
+ Consent - The message must be sent with consent of the consumer.
+ Identify – The message must contain accurate information about the person or organisation that authorised the sending of the message.
+ Unsubscribe – The message must contain a functional 'unsubscribe' facility to allow you to opt out of receiving messages from that source.
As social media marketers, we should be worried. And not just about Twitter. Any social media response unit could be breaching the Spam Act 2003. A comment on a blog post doesn't have consent. Nor does a post on a YouTube video.

I don't know much about this area of law, but this is definitely something we should be looking into.

Anyone with some more information is always welcome to comment.
The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. Also ponies are evil.
Pigs Don't Fly © Copyright Zac Martin