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Archive for September 2012

Are hijacked social media campaigns more successful?

Posted Friday, September 28th, 2012

There was a time when a marketing campaign consisted of posting leaflets through letterboxes. But with the ready made social networks on Twitter and Facebook, companies or brands can instantly connect with an entire community if they win over one internet user who feels moved to comment about it.

But the more questionable consequence of this ready-made audience is that it can talk back. As a result, companies looking to harness the power of social media have had to prepare themselves for instantaneous feedback from a notoriously vicious sea of voices.

And what now appears to separate the marketing winners and losers, are those who can react immediately – and crucially, with good humour – when their campaign comes under attack.


The upmarket supermarket took to Twitter prompting users to use the #waitrosereasons hashtag when tweeting why they shop at Waitrose, hoping they would discuss its top of the range produce and organic meat.

However Twitter users soon used it as an excuse to ridicule the supermarket’s luxury image and association with the upper classes. Shane Callagy tweeted via @shanecallagh: “I don’t shop at Waitrose. The servant does. #Waitrosereasons”. James Coakes via @jamescoakes added: ‏ “I shop at Waitrose because everyone on our estate does. Even the gamekeepers.”

Rather than trying to ditch the campaign immediately, Waitrose’s official twitter account encouraged the tweeting and reacted with good humour, saying: Thanks again for all the #waitrosereasons tweets. We really did enjoy the genuine and funny replies. Thanks for making us smile.”

“The ‘botched’ Twitter campaign which has made Waitrose a “laughing stock” gets my full backing and a ten out of ten from me,” says Jason Woodford, SiteVisibility CEO, who adds that the campaign “reinforced its upmarket image”.

“This was a very clever marketing ploy from Waitrose and it has reinforced its brand values of quality and reliably excellent service as a key point of differentiation from the other grocery chains,” he said.

Nick Clegg says sorry

Also this week, Nick Clegg’s campaign team decided it was about time for an apology over raising, instead of scrapping, tuition fees. In a video posted on Youtube, the deputy prime minister earnestly told viewers how sorry he was for regaling on his promise.

Within hours, a spoof autotuned video was created showing Mr Clegg singing his speech boy-band style to a surprisingly catchy ballad.

But while the video didn’t do much for Mr Clegg’s credibility, it moved the debate away from reminding the public about what he was actually apologising for. And Camp Clegg came out trumps when they agreed the song be made available on iTunes as long as the money was donated to Mr Clegg’s charity of choice.


Snickers: ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’

What started out as a harmless social media campaign by Mars, owners of the Snickers chocolate bar, ended up in a probe by the Advertising Standards Agency. Mars persuaded five celebrtities, including Katie Price and Rio Ferdinand, to post a series of uncharacteristic tweets to coincide with their campaign slogan, “you’re not yourself when you’re hungry”.

Katie Price posted about quantitative easing and the political economy, while footballer Rio Ferdinand posted about his love of knitting. After four such tweets, the marketing ploy was revealed with a picture of the celebrities and their Snickers bars.

The Twittersphere was certainly captivated by the tweets and enjoyed the joke and the ASA did not uphold the few complaints it received, saying that because the last tweet included @snickers uk #hungry #spon, they were clearly advertising.



It all started so well. McDonald’s #meetthefarmers campaign promoted the company’s dedication to home-grown produce by telling the public stories of the farmers they work with. However the #McDstories campaign, prompting people to share their favourite McDonald’s stories, ended up with Twitter users sharing their most horrific tales of meals at the fast-food restaurant. @jfsmith23 wrote: “Watching a classmate projectile vomit his food all over the restaurant during a 6th grade trip. #McDStories”.

The overall success of the campaign is up for debate, but the fact that campaign managers were aware of what was happening, and managed to pull the hashtag wihin an hour, shows they were on the ball. In addition, the campaign manager Rick Wion responded personally to some Twitter users, correcting them about McDonald’s products when they were misinformed and a new hashtag, #LittleThings has so far had a largely positive response.

“Companies can’t create a campaign and plan what’s going to happen,” Anna Drennan – marketing manager at Conversocial

“People’s responses are public. I think that’s the point – you have give up control. Having the right response team ready and making sure that’s connected within your organisation is the way to do it.”


When thousands of 02 users woke up one day and realised their network was down, the company came under a storm of outrage on Facebook and Twitter. Despite the very public anger and criticism the network came under, the official Twitter account responded to almost every direct complaint in a friendly, apologetic manner. By the end of the day, it had not only won over many of the complainers, but was receiving plaudits for its excellent customer service.

“Consumers find it refreshing and can be completely turned around in their opinion,” Ms Drennan claimed. “They managed to turn itself into something that got them much more positive attention. The twitter conversation got more much attention than the original problem.”

“This could be quite pivotal in companies’ images going forward. Be reactive to what comes back, rather than planning for the launch and then forgetting about it.”


iPhone 5 ‘lacking wow factor’ receives mixed reaction from fans and experts

Posted Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Apple’s iPhone 5 has been criticised for not being ‘innovative enough’ and ‘lacking wow factor’ by some fans following the unveiling of the device at a press conference yesterday.

Following the announcement fans of the smartphone took to the internet to give their reactions to the much-anticipated gadget.

The technology giant revealed the smartphone at an event in San Francisco along with several new iPods.

The iPhone 5 is taller and slimmer than the 4S due to its 4” screen, which allows users to view videos in a near 16:9 aspect ratio.

Battery life is also increased and the smartphone will be available on 4G LTE when it is released in the UK on September 21st.

The company’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller described it as an ‘absolute jewel’.

David McQueen, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, admitted the iPhone 5 offered few surprises but said the company was banking on its ability to create cool products.

‘While the new hardware may not quite stack up against other products expected in market, it is Apple’s ability to create stylish, desirable products attached to a rich set of services that it hopes can still set it apart to create differentiation,’ he said.

Paul Armstrong, head of social at media agency Mindshare UK, agreed with this, and added Apple had demonstrated ‘its commitment to technical and design excellence’.

What do you think of the iPhone 5- Apple rocks or Rotten Apple?

An entrepreneur’s guide to social media: How to avoid being boring and predictable

Posted Friday, September 7th, 2012

How to keep your social media updates fresh and inject some fun into them too.

It’s important to let down your professional guard a little when using social media. Social media land is, surprise surprise, a social place. People share things they find funny, thought-provoking, interesting or useful with their connections as well as serious or business related information. It’s important to pay close attention to the more light-hearted subject matter you can share with your followers.
“People share things they find funny, thought-provoking, interesting or useful with their connections as well as serious or business related information.”

You could start with something as simple as asking them what they’ve got planned for the holidays – few businesses connect with their customers on that level – but those that do find they can build strong relationships with their following – just take a look at Coca Cola, or Starbucks pages on Facebook for that.

Admittedly, you only have a certain number of options for the actual format of your updates – pure text, adding links, uploading a photo or sharing a video. Nevertheless, you can vary the type of update you post, and it is content, to keep things fresh.

You should always try to keep things varied because if your updates get predictable, boring or annoying, at best your followers will hide your feed and at worse break their connection with you permanently and unfriend you.

Tempting though it is, do avoid taking the easy route by constantly auto-publishing content from your blog, or republishing your tweets as a Facebook status update, or syndicating someone else’s RSS feed for weeks on end.
Your followers will spot these updates for the automated filler it really is – a subtle display you’re being a bit lazy and fairly disinterested in them and their needs online. Not good.

People who constantly share identical (syndicated) content from their favourite profile on their other profiles usually forget to check into their other social media accounts. So, some hapless Facebook follower may reply to one of these syndicated Twitter messages, and the profile owner fails to spot that interaction for many weeks. Two out of ten to that approach.

Don’t push your products and services every five minutes

Although you may represent the brand you are not here to promote it constantly. Your comment threads, Facebook wall, Twitter, email lists, forums or any other communication channels in your control are not to be used as promotional vehicles either.

Your job is to help and support, so inform any other individuals in your organisation that may think otherwise and ensure the protection of the trust, openness, integrity and fun in your community.

It really is okay to be you

Don’t bring into your community a rigid professional, corporate image if that doesn’t fit with the people you’ve connected with. Be yourself. Fit your community and be as comfortable in yourself as you can be. This makes it easier to represent the opinions, subtleties and aesthetics of your community.

You are a human extension of a URL in being an online community and social media marketing manager so any clash between your personality and brand image will become not just an obstacle but an insurmountable one.

Don’t invite all and sundry

This is crucial to a successful social media marketing strategy. Although large numbers of registered users looks great you need to be sure they are the right kind of users. Don’t just simply connect with anyone – whilst it may boost your ego it won’t boost your sales. It’s like a musician in a jazz band doing a secret gig and packing the venue with gangsta rap fans – yes they’d have the numbers, but not the influence and the relationship to make them spend money.
A smaller, targeted following of fans beats a large bunch of indifferent strangers

New users that have no passion about the focus of the community, who aren’t bothered about contributing unique, interesting content will soon disappear, so it’s better to focus on a steady growth of users who are more likely to be committed to the community. A smaller number of passionate quality users are much better than a mass of bored users contributing nothing.

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