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Yesterday I wrote about using memes to drive website traffic and brand interest. Today I’ll build on that with a little search tip.

When I first started What’s The Idea? and blogging about branding, I realized it would be smart to tag my blogs with key content points but also with “Whats the idea” and “whatstheidea,” the actual URL  In a meeting with Faris Yakob, a marketing pal, I mentioned my approach, explaining this activity allowed me to tell people to  Google “whatstheidea+ a brand or marketing topic” and it will likely lead them right to my website.  Faris said I was “indexing” content to my website using Google’s search engine.  Leave it to Faris to find the right words. Love Faris.

By always posting with my brand name — it helps that I have over 2.100 blog posts — it has created breadcrumbs to my site all across the web…wherever Google goes.

Every brand must use this slippery slope to their site. And every brand must post.

Peace.

 

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No one has done more for the medium that is Twitter than “The Donald.”  Listening to a snippet of the president elect yesterday, it made me feel as do many of his sound bites. I get the sense someone feeds him a disruptive and memorable sound bite (or he comes up with it himself) which he repeats 3 times. Sans evidence or support. Then he moves on. These sound bite are what hit the news. The approach is perfect for this Fast Twitch Media world.

In social media, sound bites can become memes. Memes get passed around as fast as jokes and news. And they can certainly last longer.  I built a consulting business around brand and marketing memes.

Have you ever gone to concert and sung along with the artist, but only able to sing a few of the hook lines? On the web, the memorable lines are the memes, everything else is flah-flah-flah content.

So, the social media tip is: “Know how to build memes.”  Memes that point back to you or your company.  Memes that others will replicate and share. Google reads the web every minute. And you can’t buy off Google.  You can sometimes trick it, but it can’t be bought. Memes create traffic.

If you are good at creating memes, endemic to your brand, if you use them and own them, you will win in social media. Just ask “The.”

Peace                                                                                            

PS. For more social media tips, Google “Social Media Guard Rails” (a meme).  

 

 

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Twitter is an important company. When Iraq took back Ramadi the day before yesterday, prime minister Haider al-Abadi, took to Twitter to make the announcement. In real time. A few years ago when China underwent a massive earthquake, the world was notified on Twitter. In real time. The Arab Spring took place, in great part, on Twitter.

Twitter isn’t ready yet for Facebook size masses. It hasn’t settled. Maybe it’s currently stuck at a couple hundred million users. (Am I listening to myself? Did I say stuck?) Shareholders and Wall Street want Twitter to be a bullion user application. And it will be, but right now people need to chill. Twitter is important in ways we haven’t yet figured. I have my own beliefs about Twitter’s place in the social ecosystem, but they are not shared by everyone.

Twitter is the Google of conversation. It is earth flattening. It will do more to create one global language than any other product.

Twitter is in the news for a number of reasons: leadership, growth, diversity to name a few. Let’s fix the diversity-in-the-corporate ranks problem, then take a breath. And let this gangly adolescent grow. Peace.

 

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I was just reading about the new Pepsi Challenge. It will take place primarily in social media, using Usher, Serena Williams, other personalities and web denizens. From a strategy point of view the only thing I can glean is that the goal is to blend “social responsibility with social culture.” Forgive me but isn’t this “Pepsi Refresh” 4 years later? This time just with expensive spokespeople? Packaged using an old campaign line from twenty years ago?

It almost feels like they rushed the story to market half-baked to beat some Coke announcement or poor earnings report. The effort is going to cost millions globally and, no doubt, will do some good. It may even sell a few cases. But the whole campaign feels very social media bandwagon and derivative. More importantly, it’s non-endemic to the product. Something McDonalds could easily do.

I’m not feeling this marketing effort and suspect it will be nice window dressing for the Pepsi corporate offices and its ad agencies; as for taking a chunk out of Coke’s hide, not going to happen. What’s the Idea?

Peace.

PS. For WTI posts on Pepsi Refresh, click here. 

 

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Many marketers using social media today are underperforming. One of the problems is that the programs are run by interns and tyro marketers – those recently out of school with dexterous fingers and, maybe, a marketing degree. More likely, a political science degree. People at keyboards without an in depth understanding of selling or buying. The second problem is the posts, tweets and promotional ideas are way too random. That is, not governed by an “organizing principle, anchored to an idea,” aka brand strategy.

Random social media programs can and have worked. Toss enough out there and positive increments will happen. But marketing is not R&D. You can’t just spill some chemicals and invent Post-It Notes.  Just as good branding requires planning, execution and sticktoitiveness, so does social media marketing.

No one loves the potential value of social media as do I. But today, social is to marketing what the selfie is to mobile phones. A picture of oneself, with little value to others. Peace.

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An oft-mentioned Goodby Silverstein mission suggests they focus on “making stuff people care about.”  It’s not an uncommon mission these days, especially as more ad and marketing revenue is tied to buildables. For Goodby, this seems to be working as a mission. It’s fun and memorable. But the reality is, it’s the job of marketers to make stuff (products) people buy. Agencies, therefore, need to make stuff that encourage people to buy. Knowing Goodby Silverstein as I do, they get this. They get that caring is a first step toward buying. I’m not worried about them. But a cottage industry of shops has been allowed to grow up building tchotchke communications that get attention, likes and pass-alongs but are light on buy.

cash register

I love social media and digital marketing. Done well. I believe digital advertising has the potential to far outpace traditional, half duplex (one way) advertising because it puts at consumer fingertips the ability to experience all the steps to a sale in a minutes. This, thanks to devices, media twitches and mobile connectivity. But the main body of practitioners are not there yet. They are still focused on trying to make stuff people care about. And that’s a shallow view. Once they make stuff that make people buy – that’s when the whoosh is going to happen. Can’t wait. Peace.

 

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Social media programs typically fall into four categories: brand building, customer care, promotion  and smiley noise.

Brand Building requires that a one actually has a brand plan (brand idea and three proof planks). So long as you’re creating and sharing content that is on-idea and embodies one of the planks, you are making brand deposits — caring about what your customers’ care about and at what you are great.

Customer Care is all about listening.  But this listening has created a cottage industry of kvetchers who have been rewarded for using social to air grievances, as I did this week when tweeting that my Nokia 928 has had to be returned 7 times due to a faulty ear piece.  The fact is, customer care is an important part of social when properly handled.  It also provides metric for the c-suite. And if a company uses it as part of a CRM program all the better.

Promotion is the top reason customers unfollow brands in social media. Data suggests 70-80 percent cite “too much marketing” as why they ban brands on Twitter or Facebook.  Again, many companies are conditioning the market to look to social for deals, just as they sometime reward kvetchers. Promotion is an important part of marketing,. It builds trial, helps hit slowed sales goals and creates rewards. But using social to fire hose freebies and to-fers is not a good lone use of the medium.

Smiley Noise is just what it sounds like.  People think it’s okay on social, because, well, it’s social. But smiley noise would never make it as an ad. It’s noise built pass along. Or to create likes. Or to fill the social air. Here’s some smile noise from Penn Medicine. 

 penn medicine tweet

Social media isn’t a static thing. It needs to live and breathe. It needs to be current and friendly but also important. Social doesn’t get the strategic oversight it should or the respect it should. But it will, oh it will.  Companies with real brand plans are the companies doing it best.  Those are the companies doing all the other stuff best, as well. It pays to have a plan. Peace!

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There’s a neat media newsletter service I’ve used a number of times in marcom plans called SmartBriefs.  It’s an aggregator of articles, sorted by topic, sent to subscriber email boxes.  It is a great one-stop free-shop. One such newsletter I subscribe to deals with social media.  The ironic thing about this one is that very few of the articles it highlights points to actual social media posts, meaning blogs.  They are mostly items from USA Today, Washington Post, WSJ, Adweek, etc.  They hit the occasional Mashable piece but do not do a good job or finding true web Posters. Posters are original content creators and bloggers whose love of the topic goes way beyond a job.

Posters may be good writers or bad and may not have made it through journalism school, but they are the backbone of the web. As a brand planner, I’m always on the lookout for big time posters in the categories I study.  They engender loyalty and lots of comments. They are analytical and love to share the goodness that is their area or interest.

Poster beget Pasters (curators and info sharers), ergo community.   

I’d love to see an aggregator service that only focused on blogs. Craft economy people in the woodworking business like the Wood Whisperer. Melting Mama for the overweight and obese. Boogie2988 for gamers.  Kandee Johnson for the young fashion conscious. Emo Girl. There are thousands of them out there.  An occasional snark would be fine too, but the more positive the better.

This is the future of the web. Where there is avoid there is an opportunity.  Maybe SmartBrief will start one. Peace.

 

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Social media is still primarily a tactical rather than strategic effort within companies. Years ago while at a meeting and doing introductions a young social media maven offered, “Hi I’m Rebecca, I work at Tribal DDB and I teach clients how to use Facebook.”  You just remember this stuff.

This Technorati link shares some interesting data points on social media and confirms my strategy vs. tactical point.  Only 51% of company social media programs are managed out of the marketing department. And let’s face it, many marketing departments are tactically rather than strategically focused themselves.  Sure they keep an eye on sales, but mostly they measure acquisition tools, traffic, engagement and, lately, activation.  The strategies driving these things, the value-based claims, are not measured. There is also some data on top three social media careabouts for the coming year, none of which are strategic – even though they are ironically identified as “strategic objectives.” 

Measuring awareness of the advertising line “Hope Lives Here” is not nearly as important as measuring attitudes towards “physician who know the latest protocol.”

With a plan, social media can soar. With a plan social media can prime the attitude pump. With a plan, not only the 51%, but all others, can be a chorus of harmonious business-building voices. Peace.

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I’m a big Lindsey Vonn fan.  It borders on creepy but not creepy enough to visit her Facebook page. Yesterday, Lindsey announced she pulled out of the Sochi games.  I learned about it on Twitter. She in in my Facebook feed, I think, but doesn’t show up so much as she’s kind of busy.

As an adult and marketer, I have started to coalesce my thoughts on social networks. Readers know I’ve long said Facebook is for friends and school peepsLinkedIn is for people with whom I have done business (ish)Twitter is for all of the above plus likeminds and admirees.  Twitter is where I share my total persona. Some politics. Some personal philosophy.  Some troll-able business scat (not the dung).  It is where I hope to learn from others, often those unknown. Twitter is my most expansive social network.  

Facebook is only as good as the shares — and sharing is magnified based on how close you are to the person. I’m not going Gaga over a 7th grade crush showing pictures of her kids in Clearwater (Facebook). Your feed is watered down if it has too many uninteresting posts. Burger King is offering $4.00 duck burgers. That said, I really don’t cull the “follow herd” and that’s an issue for Facebook.  Too much noise in the feed.

What to do about it.

Remove unwanted friends, peripheral people and brands from your Facebook community.  You can always add them back.  You can always find the brand if you need it. Play LinkedIn by the book and only connect with those you have done business with. The rest is spam.  And fly like a birdie on Twitter. Note to Twitter: don’t extend beyond 140 characters.  Where does this leave marketers? Better off. With more traffic to their own sites and ads that are more powerful because they are ads – not friends. Peace.

 

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