The Modern Language Association likes to keep up with the times. As we all know, some information breaks first or only on Twitter and a good academic needs to be able to cite those sources. So, the MLA has devised a standard format that you should keep in mind.
Times sure have changed.
Who controls your brand? Your marketing team? Your board of directors?
Nope. Your customers do. Or, in this case, your former customers do.
McDonalds tried a twitter based promotion telling the stories of farmers and suppliers in the McD’s food chain using the hashtag #McDstories. Yes, I meant that pun and I’m not sorry. It did not go as planned.
Pretty quickly, #McDstories was hijacked and thrown WAY off track into the deep negative that is the internet. Horror stories featuring poor experiences and even worse opinions of the fast food giant were quickly the top tweets. Read more and possibly decide never to “dine” there again here.
Moral? Well, first off, any nutritionist will tell you that McDonalds isn’t good for you, and over the recent years, more people are realizing this as well. McDonalds wasn’t really paying attention to the things that were probably already being said about them online, so when they jumped in to control the conversation with this campaign, they did so wearing some seriously thick rose glasses.
Marketing and social media can’t fix product or customer service problems…
…and fresh from the farm isn’t really what I think about when I think of McDonalds…
When you have clients in the world of social media, someone, somewhere, only cares about one stat – how many fans / followers / likes do we have. That number is the measurable everything to them. If Diet Coke has 1.3 million fans, why can’t Diet Dr. Bob’s soda… the marketing manager of Diet Dr. Bob’s soda asks.
A quick and easy way to gain fans and followers is contests, right? I mean, give away something big enough and it’s bound to attract the attention your brand desires. This part is a little obvious, but what isn’t so clear is what happens in the aftermath.
Let’s say Diet Dr. Bob’s decides they want to attract some fans by running a sweet promotional contest that gives away two tickets to the Super Bowl, including a VIP meet and great with a bunch of football players. It’s totally exclusive and experiential – and it blows up! Diet Dr. Bob’s adds 50,000 new fans in a weekend, when it took two years to add the first 7500. Executives are happy, and bonuses rain from the ceiling in the marketing office (hey, we can dream!).
Though, what just actually happened? Diet Dr. Bob’s added 50,000… new football fans. There is a big chance that those new people could care less about your product. Still good news though right? Yes, with a caveat. You did just add 50,000 new prospects to buy into your brand, but you also just committed to tailoring your content to those fans during the courtship process. Are you ready for some football? I hope so, because your new fans and followers are.
Don’t forget – your old fans are still there too. The long and the short of it is, contests in the social era are just the start of a long term relationship. Treating them with only short term gains in mind can be dangerous. Think carefully about the nature of your giveaway and what type of audience it’s likely to attract. Make sure the long term outcome lines up with your overall marketing strategy… or you’ll force yourself to talk football all day.
People love measurements. I’m not talking about the weight or width of an object; I’m talking about the rating or score of something. Measurements and metrics help us quantify things in our daily lives. A four star hotel is better than a two star and a video game reviewed at a nine should be more fun than one given a six. It’s pretty simple to understand the appeal of such a system and yes, I’m a nerd who likes to travel.
It’s a world full of options and we need a way to tell if Widget A is better than Widget B.
Social media has been desperately seeking measurement and impact metrics – at least since the first social media professional cashed a check. It makes sense. Whenever you have money going out, you want value coming back in. It’s the basic question of Return on Investment.
Social media professionals have been spending just as much time justifying their existence as they do keeping the conversation going. They’ve tried just about every way to fit organic results into a very rigid ROI packaging and they’ve wasted way too much time making presentations to people who non-ironically say “The Twitter”. This type of spray and pray reporting isn’t a total waste though. It’s the step we must take to determine what we even want the ROI to be.
Rather quickly, it’s getting us somewhere and we’re starting to see some consistent results that are easier to understand.
Along comes Klout.
Klout is a service (maybe?) that measures influence across the social web. Great! This is sounding like it could be huge for social media professionals!
Klout assigns a score from 1 to 100 based on your ability to drive action. OK, that sounds a little more like internet magic, but I’m still on board.
Klout is like a social credit score that will increasingly impact your life.
Not so fast. Social credit score?
Now we have a potential problem. It’s not just the comparison to a credit score that bugs me (though, I think we can all agree that number is hardly pure), it’s what simplifying results this much will do to a lot of social media efforts. Social media plans will be adjusted to make sure they favorably impact and hit the hot buttons of Klout’s scoring system. Which we don’t even know is the correct system.
One thing I do know is that if you are concerned about your Klout score, you’re doing it wrong.
Spending time figuring out what success means is the first thing social media professionals should be doing with their clients. It’s as fundamental as spending a truck load of hours on the internal architecture of your website before you dig into the design. I doubt many people come up with “Well, I just want to have a lot of influence.” And leave it at that.
A high Klout score should be part of the natural path to success for your social marketing strategy, not the end point. Management shouldn’t even care about it; instead, we want them to thumb past that number to get to the one that really matters – the increase in widgets being sold, website traffic, positive Yelp reviews… or whatever it is that you decide is your ultimate ROI.
Our solutions and ideas are as custom and unique as the goals they help achieve, but there are a set of nearly concrete rules, or best practices, we almost always lay out for our clients. We don’t like to commit to saying that they always apply, because like many rules, they are made to be at the very least, bent.
Timing is the new location. You want your content to be visible and you want people to react to it. You do that with timing. Knowing when to post is critical. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday are days with high social networking activity, which means you want to be placing content on those days.
Have a unified voice.Every piece of content posted onto any of your social networks should sound like it’s coming from the same source. Posting content with multiple writing styles is a big way to show inconsistency.
Be consistent, for consistencies sake. Make time to properly manage your networks. Schedule it if you have to, but post a minimum number of times per week, every week.
This isn’t free. Just because it doesn’t cost any money to set up a social network, doesn’t mean it’s free. Treat this as if it were costing you a significant dollar amount, because if you don’t, it will.
Be only where you can manage being. Choose the social networks you can effectively message with. Just because a network is popular doesn’t mean you have something useful to say on it. If you can’t add value, don’t.