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October 17, 2007

SMX Social: Evangelist - The Marketer's Role in SMM

By Li Evans

SMX Social:  Effectively Using Social Media - Second Life, Big Brands & Managing Social Media Strategies, Working with Bloggers

Rob Key - Converseon
Community has become the center of the web experience.  There are dozens of communities that people communicate in and have emerging cultures that are different in each community.  These shared experiences help us communicating with each others.  As marketers, we haven't been invited into these environments.  The challenge is that these communities are evolving their own norms.

The role of a social marketer is sort of being like an anthropologist.  Second Life shows a bit of this with their "2nd Life Liberation Army" where they take avatars in commerical properties in Second Life hostage.  Sony got outted for their "flog", Wikipedia has it's own strange culture as well.

As marketers, we know that backlash is going to grow as brands penetrate social media communities.  Driving factors such as tagging and increasing personalization will affect this as well.  Ask not what the community can do for you, but what you can do for the community - a play on JFK.

8 Principles of Karmic Communication

  1. Participate and learn
  2. Make friends with community elders
  3. Understand and respect community mores
  4. Lead with altruism; come bearing gifts
  5. Discover a community need
  6. Learn the linguistics
  7. Value and cultivate the relationships
  8. Leverage appropriately...over time

Second Life example:
7 million registered accounts, it's the beginning of the 3d web.  72% of their 200 respondents said they were disappointed with real world company activities in Second Life. There's a great weariness towards marketing in Second Life, people are even protesting within 2nd life about people selling land to Starbucks.

Became active in SL in early 2006, actively understood the norms and ethos of the community.  They came to realize that environmentalism is important in 2nd life.  Second Chance Tree project was launch, to help save the rain forests.  Second Chance Trees Islands was launched where Second Life residents could purchase a tree in SL for 300 Linden Dollars, a real tree - same species, will be planted in real life.  You can actually see on Google Maps where the tree is planted in real life.  Second Life completely embraced this and took ownerships, and they added note cards dedicated to people who've passed on.

This got picked up by main stream media, won the OMMA award for best virtual world project and was in contention for winning an award for American Express.

Adam Sherk, Define Search Strategies

Social Media takes multi-department coordination from PR, to SEO's to IT, Social Media strategies take planning.  Design even counts here, do you strip away ads or not?  A lot of this is about revenue from ads. Legal department is petrified you might do something to get the brand in trouble.

Common pitfalls are having no strategy, lack of support/resources, poor coordination, inappropriate content, lack of understanding of the communities, hiding your affiliation, being overly promotional.  People who do not understand social media that work on your team can sometimes cause more harm than good.

Paths to success:  selling upper management on the concepts, getting buy-in from all key departments, instilling a "give and gain" philosophy", finding the right people to manage the efforts, giving them what they need to be effective.  You need to test, have oversight and measure the results of your social media strategy.  Remember that it takes time to build up credibility in the communities before you can really utilize your social media accounts.  But also manage towards links and traffic.

More to consider, how will you sustain your efforts over the long-term?  What happens if your brand ambassador leaves the company? What about employees who have their own personal profiles?  How will you deal with negative responses and reactions?

Finding what works:
Hearst - publish good housekeeping, cosmo, etc.
Article on "The Daily Green" about the Lunar Eclipse generated 3 times more page views in 2 days than the home page did for the entire month of August.  They found the greenest top digg users to have them take a look at it and possible interest.

Good Housekeeping made it to front of digg - Dog Costumes.  Recieved over 50 comments, both positive and negative including making fun of the submitter who was a guy reading a women's magazine.  Some burried it because it had 2 pictures of a cat - so yes, Diggers can be picky.

TV Guide hired a brand ambassador.  She regularly monitors and participates on social sites.  Have full transparency within the communities.  Network partner sites developed for publicity efforts. Efforts tied into SEO, online and print marketing.  Promoted High School Musical 2, offered exclusive content, special page on site, proactive marketing.  Outreach was success, fan sites anb blogs plugged it:

  • 700% greater on the photo gallery
  • 300% greater on Video
  • 25% greater on page time
  • 192% new viditors
  • 1000% greater ratings and reviews

Sarah Hofstetter, 360i
How do marketers influence the influential?  Where can marketers create and utliize assets to successfully influence the influential and turbo-charge the social media eco-system.  Best tactics to jump-start a viral campaign is blogging, according to a recent study.

Case Studies:
Living with Ed:  HGTV premiered a new TV Show. Goals were to attract a new set of viewers to HGTV that may not have watched the channel otherwise using blogs, communities.  First search problems were that rankings first showed "erectile dysfuntion", not the TV Show.

Decided to enlist brand advocates.  Reached out to bloggers, forum moderators, community leaders, etc.  Understood each one individually, in a lot of different areas.  Was successful.  Six weeks later, Living with Ted rose to the top of the rankings and Cialis fell.

Heroes:  Needed to make sure people would come back to watch the show after its 7 weeks hiatus, since Dancing with the stars took off. They needed to generate buzz without any further budget other than resources.  Many bloggers pick up every assets pitched.  However, you need to be careful of your pitches, and who you are pitching.  Check out the "Bad Pitch Blog". You can get a lot of good coverage if you just take the time to know your audience.  NBC has now adapted this plan to all shows.

Give aways to fans of their blogs - are powerful.  # of blog posts linking back to NBC-related URLs.  Most of the links went to MySpace page, because of contest.  Put it on NBC, and it the landscape changed.

Indecision 2008:  Goals were to create awareness of Indecision 2008 platform and website.  Stimulate inbound linking to Indecision site. Increase site traffic through increased awareness and buzz.  Challenges were a cluttered market space and political alliances.

Knowing how peopel are writing about you gives more of an idea where to get some traffic from.  Blogs were the highest source of traffic for this project.

Scariest thing, using interns to do this.  Use smart people who know your brand, and "get" social media!
Do: create worthwhile content, find the right ones who will write about you, write them a customized message, keep of an updated database of all influentials
Don't:  Just hope that whatever you have is "blogworthy", mass email press releases, pretend to be "joe customer", let interns do this job


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Interesting comparison to social anthropology.

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