Category Archives: campaigns

Twitter broadcasts track season’s e-commerce woes

Now here’s a neat idea putting new-fangled Twitter to old-fashioned use. Our friends at smart insider retail IT publication StorefrontBacktalk.com will be launching a Twitter feed tracking major retail site performance problems—crashes, slowdowns and other glitches—starting Black Friday (Nov. 28). Sign up for the site’s feed at http://twitter.com/SFBackTalk ASAP before the hot news starts moving.

For those who don’t know the term, by the way, Black Friday is the unbelievably profitable Friday retailers usually see the day after Thanksgiving, fueled by a frenzy of Christmas shopping by consumers with time off from work.

StorefrontBackTalk will be working with at least a half-dozen of the top site traffic tracking fims from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, watching the largest retailers globally, with a special eye on the majors in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Since SFBT’s audience made up folks like the VP of e-commerce for Borders, this is red-hot information. Some consumers will doubtless be interested in knowing if they’re about to lose their carefully-picked shopping cart in a flash due to a server overload, too. So this thing could be big.

Sure, lots of sites are already pushing out their RSS feeds onto Twitter. But it will be interesting to see how it works to treat Twitter as, in effect, an old-fashioned wire service. After all, it still isn’t the easiest broadcast mechanism to use. In the future, perhaps it will be, in part due to demonstration projects like these!

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Will your brand be Twit-jacked?

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Beware: a painful phenomenon from the Web 1.0 world is creeping into Twitter and other social media platforms. Opportunists of the same stripe that reserved Coke.com for themselves in the cowboy days of 1993 (hoping to make millions, of course) are beginning to try similar tricks with Twitter, Facebook and other Web 2.0 identities.

The twit-jacking phenomenon hasn’t moved as quickly as most people feared. Sure, there have been some incidents–about a year ago, for example, one questionable fellow tied up the Twitter versions of CNBC, MSNBC, Newsweek and Business Week–but I haven’t heard anything about a large-scale attack. I think you can be pretty sure it’s coming, though. Domain squatters may not be geniuses, but they’ll catch on soon enough.

Why? Publicity is peaking. Twitter (and fellow social media platforms) are reaching the critical mass of mainstream media coverage which attracts the predators in every business community. Once the coverage reaches them, they’ll be registering social media IDs like mad.

In the mean time, I’m recommending to my clients that they to a social media naming audit (write to me if you’d like our form for doing this) to make sure their core brand is protected on all of the major platforms. It’s worth probably analyzing and leveraging a few of the lesser ones, as well, as you want to hedge your bets.

I also suggest that clients do what they’re probably already doing in the Web 1.0 space, which is to reserve multiple spellings of their corporate name, keywords they consider important to their mission and personal names of their corporate executives. Be thorough, and be thoughtful; and remember that nobody though something crazy like an “URL” would make much of a difference in 1994. We’re at that point again.

Besides, it never hurts to think how your brand is positioned today’s hottest emerging media, and if you’re lucky, you may develop new ideas to reach these audiences as you dig through their layers of social participation. If nothing else, though, you’ll have protected yourself against Twit-jacking for the near future. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

Anne

P.S. This Network World editor has his own interesting take on the subject, including some interesting details on the extent to which Twit-jacking is already picking up steam

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Great idea for connecting with your Twitter followers

Now here’s an idea that makes sense not only for Twitter, but also for other forms of social media (including blogs, social networks and bookmarking sites). I love it — not only does it provide great information for the marketer, it also builds a sense of community in the process. Great stuff!

What’s got me stirred up is a site mounted by Eric Miltsch of car dealer AuctionDirect. The site, Tweet and Greet, challenges Miltsch’s Twitter followers to answer 10 quick questions about cars.

The results Miltsch gets are entertaining, revealing and most importantly, memorable. Not only that, the survey is likely to engage rather than frustrate users. As ProBlogger Darren Rowse notes, the odd thing is that people tend to be more committed to your product when you ask them to do some work.

Readers, what’s your favorite technique for learning more about your social media followers and fans? Have you ever built a campaign around information gathered from social media-based research? — Anne

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Google Chrome, and other things that don’t need social media marketing

As anyone reading a blog like this knows, tossing out the name of Google’s super-hot new browser, Google Chrome, is likely to give this item a boost in the SERPs. If I’m Google, I certainly don’t need to pump up my reputation with bloggers or make sure a lot of people “favorite” Google Chrome groups in one form or another. All of that may happen, and it’s fine, but if I were on Google’s marketing team, it certainly wouldn’t be my priority. All of which is to say that while big brands are certainly leveraging social media, it’s still more important for small and emerging businesses:

– Social media has a few well-known networks, but the medium is still rather fragmented, with small but important players emerging seemingly every day. Bigger businesses are unlikely to benefit from adapting to multiple social networks and platforms; it’s more likely to create inconsistencies in their message.

– Social media is neither fish nor fowl, in that it has characteristics of both PR and Web marketing. Big brand marketers seldom have the flexibility to adapt their message, budget and personnel to such hybrids.

– Small businesses are close enough to the product or service to carry the feedback from social networks straight to those who deliver the product or service. Big companies, in theory, can do the same thing, but they’re more likely to respond to focus groups and other throat-clearing.

So what do you think, folks? Aside from a few rumored successes, like Dell‘s moving some PCs through its Twitter presence, do big businesses need to have an integrated online presence yet? I’d love to hear your comments.– Anne

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Staples’ “That Was Easy” brand makes another convert (me)

Ok, folks, I’ll admit that this post is partly a “hey there, I’m not dead” note — I’ve been crazy busy in my personal and professional life and haven’t posted in a few weeks — but I did want to share with you a simple, sweet marketing tactic I just encountered which had a real impact on my personal spending behavior.

A few days ago, I was cruising around the Web aimlessly (I think on ZDNet, though I’m not sure) and somehow encountered a banner ad for Staples.com pitching a discount coupon.

Since I’ve become a fan of the site and store of late, I clicked, expecting to spend at least a bit of time filling out some sort of tiresome form or enduring some pitch.

Guess what — I didn’t.

When I clicked on the banner, the ad triggered my PC’s printer driver. When OK’d the print job, my system immediately printed out a nice little $15-off coupon usable either online or in one of the Staples stores. Since I’ve been meaning to buy an office chair in the $100 range, that’s a meaningful discount which pretty much ties up much decision to buy there.

Not only did this “cut to the chase” approach deliver exactly what I needed, which certainly can’t hurt, you can’t beat this as a way to reinforce Staples’ whole “That Was Easy” brand online. As the coupon printed, those three words came into my head unbidden; I don’t know if the ads got to me or that was just how I felt, which I guess could be said to be the magic of a strong brand! All I can say is “high five, Staples!”

Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about some of Staples’ other online strategies, you might enjoy this Promo article from December 2007. As you’ll see, the office giant’s “That Was Easy” widget seems to be quite a hit.

P.S. By the way, stay tuned for a review of Spongecell.com, a really interesting site which makes it easy to promote events virally using social media and other traditional Internet technologies. Here at WhatMattersOnline Labs we’re giving it a thorough look and will report back shortly.

Like what you see in What Matters Online? Want to stay up to date on the latest in Web 2.0, social media and old-school interactive marketing? Get notified of our latest updates by e-mail or RSS. I will never sell or exchange your information, and I won’t deluge your inbox — I promise!

American Airlines launches Facebook widget to collect marketing info

Here’s an interesting tale of how a large company is using a widget to siphon marketing information out of consumers. American Airlines is has apparently launched a new market research tool “disguised as a Facebook widget,” according to MediaPost. (For more info, you might also check out AA’s press release on the subject.) The widget, which AA calls Travel Bag, lets Facebook friends share travel preferences and tips.  As users give away information on their likes and dislikes, AA hopes to use the information to serve up targeted marketing messages to the widget’s users.  (For example, users who shared information on Broadway venues and Times Square hotels might get a coupon on flights to New York City, along with a discount coupon.)

Interestingly, AA isn’t just relying on viral dissemination to get users onto Travel Bag; it’s actually advertising the widget within Hotmail.com and Windows Messenger, plus social bookmarking sites like Digg. Meanwhile, it’s also planning to set the widget loose on other social networking sites.  (Interestingly, however, it’s not advertising the widget on its front page. Wonder why?)

To me, if you’re having to advertise a widget, it stops being what Facebook widgets are (utilities) and starts being something else–call it an “adget” or widget-based advertising vehicle. But still, AA does seem to basically “get it” when it comes to encouraging conversations and sharing useful information. I’m keeping a close eye on this one.

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Like what you see in What Matters Online? Want to stay up to date on the latest in Web 2.0, social media and old-school interactive marketing? Get notified of our latest updates by e-mail or RSS. I will never sell or exchange your information, and I won’t deluge your inbox — I promise!

Yokahama social media site proves seductively successful

I had the pleasure of chatting briefly today with Gary Hall, president of white-label social media technology maker Pringo.com. Hall, who spurred online marketing efforts for  Reunion.com for five years, could reasonably be seen as a social media expert, so I was eager to hear what he considered to be the key reasons for the success of Yokahama Tire’s “Eco Treadsetters” site. 

Eco Treadsetters one of what seems to be a growing number of sites which have chosen “green” content as their initial foray into social media world, including Dell’s “ReGeneration” site. (All of the sites I’ve found are based on some form of white-label social media software, too, interestingly enough.)

The site, whose creative comes from Detroit’s PCGCampbell agency, was designed as a short-lived project but seems poised to live on for some indefinitely.  The agency and client realized they had a hit on their hands within only a few months of the site’s launch, Hall says.

With 100+ companies offering white-label social media networking platforms out there, what made Pringo.com stand out for PCGCampbell and  Yokahama?  Well, for one thing, Hall says, the clients liked that Pringo is installable software, not a hosted Web service, which allowed them to put the technology behind a firewall and safely load it with internal data. Other dealmakers were Pringo’s proprietary content management system and capacity for awarding redeemable points to users who contribute to the community.

Over the next few weeks, look here for more brief check-ins with clients, technology vendors and other intermediaries who are rolling out social media and other cutting-edge social media solutions. I’ve done enough rambling on this blog–time for me to share as much as I can of what other people thing!
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Like what you see in What Matters Online? Want to stay up to date on the latest in Web 2.0, social media and old-school interactive marketing? Get notified of our latest updates by e-mail or RSS. I will never sell or exchange your information, and I won’t deluge your inbox — I promise!