Here are two ways to take your social efforts and ignite them through paid Facebook media: paid fan acquisition and fan engagement. Paid fan acquisition usually focuses on acquiring as many “likes” as quickly as possible, while fan engagement typically focuses on getting a base of core “likes” to actually engage with your brand.
Paid Fan Acquisition
One way fan acquisition is achieved is by implementing a cost-per-like campaign, which uses advertising to pay for fans as quickly as possible. When working with third-party vendors such as Ampush Social, Adconion or Graph Effect, you can expect a $1-$2 cost per like depending on your level of targeting. Targeting can be based upon the user’s age, gender, relationship, education, location, etc. You only pay when someone “likes” your brand.
The two types of Facebook ads utilized for this type of campaign are the Facebook social ad (right) and sponsored story ad (left). The main difference is that a sponsored story pulls in the user’s friends, giving the user a social context to “like” the brand.
“We need to remember they aren’t actually fans, that is just what Facebook calls them, they are often just people that have been recruited by competitions and they aren’t really engaged,” said Magnus Cormack, director of strategy at Syncapse Corp.
However, we have seen this as a good strategy to begin to seed “likes” for new brands to Facebook.
To help a brand build a core fan base and keep fans engaged, Mintel defined a few best practices:
- Campaigns should be interactive – use apps, games, polls, samples and contests to keep the fans engaged on the brand page.
- Make networkers want to share a link to virally acquire “likes.”
- Ask the networker for user-generated content to allow them to feel they are contributing to the brand.
- Create synergy with the brand.
Facebook’s new premium page post ads are created from the content on your brand’s page and include the user’s friends’ names within the ad. Below are a few of these premium ads that create this sense of engagement within the brand’s advertising on Facebook.
With a 90% share of the social network audience and 27.9% of total online display impressions, Facebook’s power has continued to grow year over year since its start in 2004. Facebook is the largest publisher of online display ad impressions, and although Facebook’s ad revenue is slowing, it is still predicted to rise year over year.
Shockingly, according to eMarketer, only 25% of social networkers currently follow a brand on Facebook. This leaves a huge opportunity to reach consumers who have not been touched. Additionally, users are more comfortable receiving brand information and connecting with a brand on Facebook versus other social networking platforms.
So whether you are trying to increase your fan base or engage your fans, there are paid media alternatives that can help ignite your overall social media efforts on Facebook.
The buzz about Facebook’s storefronts, known as f-commerce, has been hot over the last few years. Recently, the temperature toward storefronts on Facebook has turned decidedly cooler, with retail giants like JCPenney, Nordstrom, The Gap and GameStop all closing their Facebook shops. Does this signal the end of social e-commerce? Absolutely not.
First, we must analyze why f-commerce did not pan out as expected. With too many unauthorized wall posts, unwanted messages and sudden terms of service changes, users are increasingly wary of trusting Facebook. Couple that distrust with the fact that it is a “sharing” site, and consumers are resistant to entering their credit card information on Facebook.
From a usability standpoint, viewing scads of products in a confined viewing area crammed between Facebook navigation and Facebook ads is not a particularly pleasant experience. Additionally, the browser back button returns the user to the previous Facebook page, not the previous shopping page. Companies can spend millions to create an online storefront, so why wouldn’t customers prefer to shop within the much more robust experience of a true e-commerce site?
Despite these challenges, there are terrific avenues for the savvy brand to leverage Facebook for e-commerce. And since one out of every seven minutes spent online is spent on Facebook (think about that!), it is only smart for brands to meet their customers where they spend the most time.
Developing a full Facebook storefront is probably not the most effective allocation of marketing dollars for most brands at this point. Using Facebook to leverage and enhance existing assets is the smart play.
Because consumers connect with and publicly declare that they “like” a particular brand or product, your company can benefit from powerful affinity marketing on Facebook. Allow users to comment on specific products, and friends of that user can see the product in their newsfeed, both exposing them to the product and letting them know what their friend thinks of it. Most consumers are more inclined to trust the uncensored reviews of friends or other consumers. Positive reviews can tip the scale in favor of purchase. Conversely, if the product is unfavorably reviewed, it can destroy sales.
To counter the crowded Facebook space, consider a limited product offering, like Starbucks. The only f-commerce they offer is the gift card. Starbucks is in a strong position for selling via Facebook since their customers tend to be passionately loyal and frequently online socially. Users may purchase a gift card and then send it to their friend, all within Facebook. Purchases under $25 may encourage users to sample Facebook f-commerce and directly share a gift with tangible physical value.
Traditional E-Commerce Support
Perhaps f-commerce in its literal sense is not right for your brand. Use your social network to support and spread your brand’s traditional e-commerce site. For instance, Scottevest Travel Clothing promotes current sales on their Facebook profile picture and offers a “Daily Sale!” section on their Facebook page so fans can easily find their specials and link directly to their e-commerce site. Scottevest responds quickly to consumer feedback on their Facebook page and Twitter feed (Twitter responses are directly from the CEO) and takes care of any issues that arise, building a loyal customer base that feels the brand truly cares for them.
The Home Depot has taken f-commerce in a more natural direction. Seasonal Facebook apps encourage different projects and, at the end of the how-to, offer a list of products that support the project. This very simplified product offering is far more palatable in Facebook’s limited space than a full product line. If a user chooses to purchase via a “buy now” button on Facebook, they are redirected to The Home Depot site and the product is placed in their shopping cart. Users can then take advantage of the robust offerings of The Home Depot e-commerce site, including product previews, multiple product views, specifications, extensive filtering and search, coordinating items and more. Instead of attempting to duplicate this cart on Facebook, The Home Depot may allocate those dollars to brand engagement and relationship building with their consumers.
Exclusivity and Limited Product Sales
Exclusivity is a powerful purchasing motivation, and Facebook can provide the perfect channel. Take Oscar de la Renta: the brand offers a monthly Facebook-exclusive product as the only item available to purchase through their Facebook store. Users may still click through to the main Oscar de la Renta e-commerce site to purchase other products, but this one product is only available to their Facebook fans. Or consider Gilt, which offers an hour-early preview of its sales. Not only do the fans feel as if they are insiders, they are reminded of the Gilt sale when they check their newsfeed.
Facebook is a viable nontraditional sales channel, but brands must treat their Facebook fans differently than they do their website visitors. Facebook is considered personal space by its users, and brands can build affinity with their products as long as they remain respectful of that space. Brands should use caution so as not to become the ugly relative who is always asking for money or pushing products they don’t want. Any f-commerce engagement must therefore tread gently to help brands build a trusted relationship with their consumers.
Traditionally, the Super Bowl is the biggest night for TV advertising, but Sunday night’s Super Bowl was a big night for digital, too. Trends from the 2011 Super Bowl were back, with advertisers releasing ads online prior to the Super Bowl in hopes of increasing viral spread and integrating mobile ads with the TV campaigns. In fact, this year over half of advertisers released ads online before the game, looking to draw on Volkswagen’s success last year. And mobile upped the ante from last year’s Anheuser-Busch iAd with a QR code in Go Daddy’s spot, linking to discounts off Go Daddy products. But this year, the digital showing went even further.
Shazam announced just before the big night that the entire Super Bowl, the halftime show and many of the ads would be Shazamable. Viewers could Shazam the Toyota spot for the chance to win two Camrys, download an MP3 from Bud Light, watch a music video from Pepsi, vote for their favorite ads, access music content during the halftime show and check out stats about the plays and players during the game. While QR codes connect print to the digital world, Shazam is blazing the trail for connecting TV and audio to digital content. Shazam has not released exact participation stats, but has noted that with “millions” of viewers participating in the Super Bowl integration, 2012 will be “the year of the Shazamable TV ad.”
Chevy invited fans to “experience Super Bowl Sunday in a whole new way” with the Chevy Game Time mobile app, which allowed viewers to play trivia, take polls and enter to win one of 20 Chevrolets or other prizes.
This year, the Super Bowl was streamable both online and from mobile devices. Verizon cut a deal with the NFL to exclusively stream the Super Bowl on iOS and Android devices with the NFL mobile app, and for the first year the game was streamed on computers. Live streaming is a testament to the changing landscape of TV: the Super Bowl is the biggest moment for TV every year, and yet it’s recognizing the growing trend of streaming TV online. The live stream had 2.1 million unique viewers, making it the most-watched sports game online. While there were limitations (such as a lack of live commercials), online streaming allowed for embedded live streams from Facebook and Twitter, further enhancing the experience with social engagement.
And speaking of social, perhaps the biggest story of the night was in social media. Viewers are no longer relying solely on their witty Super Bowl party friends for commentary, but are turning to the second screen for live running commentary about the ads, halftime show and plays. At the end of the game, Twitter saw 12,233 tweets per second, setting a record for the highest tweet frequency during a live sports event.
Brands were prepared for viewers’ connection with Twitter, and hashtags got their fair share of airtime in the TV spots. Audi’s #SoLongVampires, Bud Light’s #MakeItPlatinum and Jack in the Box’s #MarryBacon hashtags all looked to increase engagement on Twitter. Coca-Cola’s polar bears even used the hashtag #GameDayPolarBears to comment on the game from Twitter and point users to more polar bear content on YouTube. In most cases, including hashtags in the spots seemed to work, as #MakeItPlatinum and #SoLongVampires became trending topics in mere minutes.
Coca-Cola saw success on social media even before kickoff with its Facebook event app, which asked fans to RSVP to watch the Polar Bowl – a live stream of the Coca-Cola polar bears’ reactions to the game. Before kickoff, 32,000 people had RSVPed, and the live stream received so many views that the Coke team had to add six servers to accommodate the traffic. Its Twitter feed received a whopping 12.5% increase in followers before the game even started.
The Super Bowl’s social media integration went beyond Twitter and Facebook into the location-based arena with Pizza Hut and Amex’s Foursquare offer. By checking into “Super Swarm Sunday,” Amex members got $5 off any food ordered from Pizza Hut.
The 2012 Super Bowl is leading the way for digital to further enhance the TV entertainment experience and enhance engagement with advertisers. TV spots are no longer simply 30–60 seconds of impression time; they can be the beginning of an engaging experience with a brand that lasts far beyond those few, short seconds. Instead of looking at TV advertising in a silo, it can be used in conjunction with digital to begin an engaging customer journey.
Facebook Timeline. It’s probably the biggest thing to hit social media since the Kardashians (or “last week’s Facebook update”). With all the hype about how great (or horrible) the new Timeline feature was, I was skeptical. Facebook changes things all the time, and I never seem to notice much difference after a few days of use. I didn’t understand how using Facebook as a scrapbook was going to radically change my life. Nonetheless, I finally decided that – given the fact that I’m a “digital strategist” and am supposed to be on the cutting edge of all things cool, new and digital – I should activate my Facebook Timeline. So I did.
And it’s awesome. I may have a different perspective than most, but here’s why I love the new Facebook Timeline.
I joined Facebook when I was a freshman in college. “Back in the day” when you had to have an “.edu” email address to sign up, and before every tween and their grandmother had Facebook accounts. This is a key element of Facebook Timeline. I spent many years uploading pictures, writing “notes,” posting on others’ walls and sharing information. When I activated Timeline, I went back through all that I had done during my college years. I saw where I’d been, who I had spent a lot of time with, what I had said about classes or current events.
Granted, I can see the drawback to this. You probably won’t like Facebook Timeline if you’ve spent a considerable amount of time being a goofball. By that, I mean if you were tagged in a bunch of drunken frat-party pictures and you’re less than proud of them now, you’re probably not going to love the new Timeline. But have no fear! Facebook has thought about that! They let you turn on Timeline for only you to view for a week so that you can go through and delete all of the junk you’re not proud of.
The Timeline might not be so great for you if you’ve gotten married and your spouse was not a part of your life that Facebook timelines. I’m just saying: All of those pictures of you and your ex-girlfriend and the “I love you, sweetlips!” posts on your wall are going to show up. And your new wife is going to see them. She might not be amused. Again, this is an excellent opportunity to use the trial Timeline and remove every post you feel could later incriminate you with your loved ones.
But you know who else will love the Facebook Timeline? Grandparents. Why? Because not only can they see what their children are doing, but they can look at the lives of their grandchildren without having to pester their kids to send them pictures. Look at it this way: They’re already keeping up with birthdays using Facebook – why not use it to remember what kind of birthday cake you made last year or who you invited to the birthday party?
Given the fact that Facebook lets you remove whatever you don’t want on your Timeline, you can, in a way, recreate yourself. Or at the very least, delete the less attractive elements. Here’s an example. Childbirth. It’s an important time in a mother’s life. Some people feel the need to take pictures of the new, exhausted mother, then post them on Facebook.
The new mother, no doubt, will not be happy with these pictures, especially in two years. Pictures of baby = OK. Pictures of Mom, cheeks void of color in a hospital gown = not OK. The mother may opt to take down those photos.
But how awesome would it be for brands like, say, Pampers, if they could target this mother and track the baby’s growth and promote products that fit that life stage? Not only right when the baby is born, but in a few years when they need pull-ups instead of diapers? Or maybe Weight Watchers has a potential customer as Mom tries to get back into pre-baby form.
Because Facebook Timeline can let people know when important events (like childbirth) happen, they also allow brands to use a little deductive reasoning and think about what other important events are going on in the lives of users. Sixteen years after that childbirth picture? Hello, car insurance companies…
One more thing I love about Timeline. The huge picture, what Facebook calls the “Cover Photo.” That’s right, you can highlight a much larger picture on your profile while still having your little passport-style “this is what I really look like” picture (that is commonly used for the token keg stand picture among my friends). This opens up a lot of doors for creativity.
Check out http://mashable.com/2011/12/08/facebook-timeline-ideas/#375873-Pao-Abella for some great examples of how people are expressing themselves with the Cover Photo.
It will be interesting to see if Facebook allows brands to activate a new Timeline page. Many brands on Facebook will be reasonably new, as it’s a great promotional tool for young brands to get some word-of-mouth coverage. It’d be really cool for brands with a lot of rich history. For example, I’d like to see some timelines like this:
- 1992: Clear colas: Failure.
- 2008: Tested Diet Coke with Bacon…did not go into production.
- 2011: Fans reject white Coke can, saying it “tastes different.”
- 1908: Model T introduced.
- 1914: Ford introduces a $5/day minimum wage, double the existing wage.
- 2011: Ford Focus electric unveiled.
- 2004: Facebook launches.
- 2006: Facebook opened to everyone ages 13 or older with a valid email address.
- 2009: Facebook users freak out about privacy changes.
- 2010: Facebook users freak out about change to live news feed.
- 2011: Facebook users freak out about new Timeline feature.
To close, I’d encourage you to try Facebook Timeline. The longer you’ve been a user and the more you’ve posted, the more interesting your timeline will be. Who knows, maybe Facebook Timeline will serve as a gentle reminder for people to be responsible? Like my grandmother always said, “Don’t do anything if you don’t want it posted on Facebook.”
Each year, a bunch of new words creep into our lexicon. And a lucky few creep into the dictionary, becoming “real words.” This year we saw “retweet,” “sexting” and “bromance” become real words, as well as “LOL” and “OMG.”
The most popular list of new words comes from the prestigious Oxford English Dictionary, which dubs one word the “word of the year.” Kinda like prom queen, for words. This year’s word: “Squeezed Middle.”
Among this year’s nominees were “occupy,” “tiger mother,” “bunga bunga” and this word, which those of us in the digital world of advertising might want to get to know: clicktivism.
Clicktivism: The use of social media and other online methods to promote a cause (a blend of “click” and “activism”).
Basically, the technique of clicktivism combines the tracking tools of marketing with the passion of a social movement. Activists use social media to promote a cause and get users to, well, act. You’ve probably been hit up by organizations like MoveOn.org or the other groups to sign a prewritten form letter and, with a simple click, send it off to your congressman. Protests are formed. Petitions are signed. Awareness is raised. People act.
This trend is highly effective, highly measurable and highly controversial. Oh, controversy!
The benefit of clicktivism is that results can be measured. Clickthrough rates can be tracked, testing can be employed, just like display ads. Future marketing efforts are decided based upon metrics and data gathered. Plus, awareness is raised and action is prompted. Right?
Not according to critics, who say this marketing tactic actually lowers real-life social engagement, reducing activism to a passive, dispassionate activity. Social issues are skewed to what will perform well, and involvement and interest levels, especially off-line, dwindle. The spirit of a social movement – which most recently has been demonstrated with the Occupy Wall Street movement – is squandered.
Is clicktivism good or evil? You decide. But the more relevant question is how we can use it, or if we can use it, for our clients. As cause marketing becomes more important to brands, can we employ this measurable, social trend in our digital strategies?
In Canada, Veterans Affairs used clicktivism to encourage citizens to honor war veterans any way they chose on Remembrance Day. Some changed their Facebook profile picture to show poppies, some used their status update to remember a veteran and some tweeted they were observing two minutes of silence on November 11.
In this case, clicktivism gave a younger generation a way to show their support. Again, critics believe this detracted from human interaction, but supporters believe it opened the experience to a new audience.
Either way, this is one new word that is here to stay. Just look it up in the dictionary.
See more information here:
See a list of words of the year here: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/squeezed-middle-is-named-oxford-dictionaries-word-of-the-year-2011-134361588.html
As with other recent large-scale events, Hurricane Irene’s trip up the East Coast this weekend caused millions of people to turn to digital to keep up to date on the situation. With no public transportation available in New York City and not even an open Starbucks around (two things previously unimaginable to most New Yorkers), social media users became even more active to occupy and entertain themselves during days of hibernation.
There was no shortage of websites to visit for hurricane information. The National Hurricane Center site and Weather.com were among the most credible, offering current advisories, satellite photos and wind speed and storm surge projections. Other sites were much more specialized, such as this interactive map from WNYC public radio, which shows evacuation zones and evacuation centers after Mayor Bloomberg ordered mandatory evacuations for more than 250,000 people in coastal and low-lying areas.
One obviously beneficial use of digital, and specifically social media, throughout the storm was that it provided a way to get quick and easy information, whether that be from friends and family or government officials. Twitter saw more than 3,000 tweets per minute by 2 p.m. on Saturday about the storm, and seven of its top ten trending topics were hurricane-related posts. Governors of both New York, Andrew Cuomo, and New Jersey, Chris Christie, used Twitter throughout the weekend to update residents on the status of the storm and promote other media appearances.
However, the flip side is that a lot of misinformation was distributed, which serves to remind us that the source of the tweet always needs to be taken into account when deciding what to believe. An image of Hurricane Irene approaching North Carolina was circulating around early Saturday morning and shared by thousands of people, only to later uncover that the image was weeks old, taken in Florida and had nothing to do with Irene. By Sunday night, the fake picture had over 315,000 views.
But overall, the trend is that people are increasingly turning to social media when facing potential or current disasters. A survey by the American Red Cross reported that 18% of Americans use Facebook to get information about emergencies, and 24% would use social tools to tell others that they’re safe. Not unlike their expectations of brands and advertisers, 80% expect emergency responders to monitor social sites, and more than one-third expect help to arrive within one hour of posting a need to a social media site. And for those lucky enough to have avoided serious damage from the storm, social media also became a channel to express relief – and in true New York fashion, that relief was often articulated through humorous sarcasm.
And where were advertisers through all this? Some brands that had a natural fit within the conversation inserted their voice nicely, where relevant, through social media. As people flocked to the nearest retailer for flashlights, generators and water, The Home Depot connected with consumers in many ways, including providing a how-to guide for homeowners preparing for the hurricane. Walmart linked to a checklist of items consumers should have on hand via Twitter, and Lowe’s distributed a press release so all store managers were prepared to field any media inquiries and interviews to provide tips and demonstrations on hurricane prep and recovery. Other brands that did not have as seamless a connection posted their sympathies or tied the weather to something relevant to their brand, such as this Nike Facebook post on Monday:
All of these well-done social media efforts made me notice the brands that were not mentioning the incident, and it made me very much appreciate those who were being relevant in real time. All in all, another good case study for how social media continues to play a paramount role in large-scale events everywhere.
Very few people would know that the Coca-Cola Company was the first corporation to offer a coupon for a free glass of Coca-Cola in 1888. The company had to provide free syrup to the soda fountains to cover the costs of free drinks. This was definitely an innovative tactic in its time, and by 1913 8.5 million Coca-Cola coupons had been redeemed.
But coupons have come a long way, and companies are looking for new and innovative ways to deliver deals to consumers. Large companies like Groupon or Living Social were born to do just that and have become so successful that others felt the need to get a piece of the pie; companies like Facebook and even Google came up with their own version of the daily deals.
A Like Has Its Benefits
In the past few months, American Express has released several loyalty programs that integrate powerful platforms such as Twitter, iTunes and LinkedIn, but most recently Foursquare and Facebook.
I have been an AmEx member since 2000 and I know that “membership has its privileges.” However, as frugal a consumer as I am, I reject all types of fees, especially bank fees. I never really saw any value in paying over $250 a year to access a rewards program of which I would never take full advantage, so I signed up for a fee-free card and I don’t leave my house without it. I am always looking for new ways to save money here and there, and that is why I got interested in two of their most recent loyalty programs.
AmEx launched their Foursquare program during SXSW in Austin earlier this year. Basically, it allows AmEx cardholders to access offers directly on their phones when checking in at a location. When the program rolled out nationally, I was ready to sign up. All I had to do was link my AmEx card online with Foursquare and I was ready to go; new deals showed up under the “Specials Nearby” option. It literally takes seconds to activate a deal and a statement credit will be applied to your account directly. See it in action here.
Another interesting program from AmEx was released earlier this month: “Link, Like, Love” on Facebook. It promises to deliver tailored, coupon-less deals based on your social graph. This is a good example of behavioral targeting with consent; you have to download the app and “allow” the content to be displayed.
With this application, you link your AmEx credit card to your Facebook account and access a selection of deals from participating merchants, such as Whole Foods and H&M. What I found most appealing is that the redemption process is as simple as it can be and takes away the coupon stigma; you won’t have to ask the waiter to scan a coupon while on a date. With the “Add to card” function, you only need to load your card with the deals you want, and once you qualify for the offer you will receive a statement credit reward within 2-3 business days…just like that!
Now let’s not forget that this is Facebook – everything on the application can be sent to your friends, liked and shared – and as your social graph evolves, the application will evolve to keep up with you to deliver new deals.
Here is a video of the “Link, Like, Love” announcement:
Check in to the Ballgame from MasterCard
This month MasterCard also released a rewards program with Facebook that integrates location-based services for their “Priceless New York” campaign. They were able to acquire some of the recently demolished Yankee Stadium seats and place them around New York City for people to find, like a scavenger hunt. Once you find the seat, you will need to scan a QR code to then be checked in on Facebook Places – this will make you eligible to win VIP tickets to a 2011 Yankee game.
This is a creative program that will only run for a month and it’s targeted to New Yorkers only – yes, they always get the fun stuff.
MasterCard’s Facebook Likes have been increasing daily as a result of the “Check in to the Ballpark” program – they are currently close to 55,000 – while AmEx Likes are over 2.1 million.
What Is the Real Value?
From my perspective, this kind of initiative brings value to all parties involved. The consumer will have easy access to more discounts and offers, which ultimately will drive trial, loyalty and frequency of purchase to participant retailers. Today, merchants are only responsible for the value of the discount, and fulfillment is transparent. As for AmEx, they will continue to enrich their customer database with more information while maintaining a good relationship with the merchants who fuel their business by providing them with tools that bring them new and repeat customers.
I also think that all this activity is probably one of the best ways of measuring and monetizing social media efforts.
It’s hard to believe, yet we all continue to be amazed and confused at the rash of public figures using social media to pursue their “activities” – so far this year we’ve seen Mark Souder, Chris Lee and Anthony Weiner resign because of displayed “content.” It’s also crazy to see there is an actual Wikipedia page noting the list of federal political sex scandals in the United States. While not all include the use of digital media, there’s a disturbing trend developing with the recent list additions. And once something hits online, it always seems to escalate quickly.
Yet it’s no different for brands these days. Post something potentially controversial or inappropriate and you’ll see an instant response/reaction:
Chrysler cancelled an agency contract in March of this year when an agency employee “accidentally” posted on a company blog: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f**king drive.”
And demonstrating a total lack of appreciation for the global community, Kenneth Cole issued apromotional tweet that made reference to the revolution in Egypt: “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new springcollection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC”
Bob Parsons, the CEO of GoDaddy.com, posts a video of himself on an African hunt and then tweets about killing overly aggressive elephants. One could effectively argue herd control, if it weren’t for the added promotional gaffe of his decision to ask the locals to wear GoDaddy-branded hats asthey fillet the fresh kill – again posting the video online.
Yikes – the “KC” is meant to convey the tweet came directly from the man-brand himself.
All this points to what I refer to as a set of “Immutable Laws of Digital Content” that represents key properties of online content that simply can’t be ignored:
1. What goes online, stays online – forever!
Once a message, copy, image or video hits a content server, it stays online and can be found somewhere on the Net. No matter how fast you hit the delete button, chances are the information can be hunted down and retrieved.
2. Introducing the “digi-razzi”
You think the paparazzi are annoying? Wait till we see a whole new class of online snoops evolve to actively search online for any kind of dirt. So just assume whatever you create or post, it will be found.
3.Inappropriate content = sharing at warp drive
Wanna see something go viral? Just include something scandalous and watch the audience count spiral. Share buttons, viral links and mobile access only add fuel to the fire. It’s actually kinda sad to see just how much effort we put into making something viral, yet the things we don’t want viral tend to take off like a rocket.
So what’s a brand to do?
Ask yourself if you have a handle on the following:
1. Do you know today who has access to all of your social media touchpoints? If not, make a list, vet it properly and update passwords. In this day and age where digital agency staff change faster than the response time to a Google query, better have access to your digital brand in firm order.
2. Make sure access to your accounts is done in a secure channel. To avoid a mix-up like Chrysler, mandate that your team or agency resource use a unique social media tool to access and update content – different than their personal access. And demand logouts after all editing sessions. Imagine what could happen if a savvy competitor finds a missing phone with an open session via TweetDeck tapped into your brand’s Twitter account.
3. Restating the obvious, ensure you have simple, clearly written access and usage guidelines. And make sure it covers not only internal staff, but all external partners as well.
All this aside, there’s still plenty of room for being open and transparent with your brand. Just make sure your social media assets are properly covered.
It’s a great time to be a digitally savvy sports fan. Long gone are the days of sitting on the couch passively watching a game, relying only on the people in the room and TV broadcasters for selective information. Now there are apps, text alerts, Twitter feeds, online streaming, Facebook pages…you name it, and it can be used to augment your fandom. From an advertiser perspective, it’s important to realize just how engaged these fans are within the digital medium these days and to consider advertising and sponsorship opportunities within the space if it’s a good fit with your brand.
The recent NBA finals (Congratulations, Mavs!!) are a great example. NBA.com set an all-time record for streams and page views during the finals alone, with 141 million video streams and 401 million page views, an increase of 89% and 11%, respectively, versus last year’s records. The NBA’s free mobile app, NBA Game Time, was available on almost any platform you can think of, from the iPhone to Blackberry, and Apple to Google TV, and it was downloaded more than 2.5 million times. As a point of comparison, there were 1 million downloads last season, which speaks both to the popularity of the NBA series this year as well as increased mobile adoption rates among consumers.
And then there’s social media. Two hundred fifty NBA players have Twitter accounts and 75 have Facebook pages. Combined, the athletes, league and teams accumulated nearly 120 million fans and followers across Facebook and Twitter.
Compare that to the nearly 24 million people measured by Nielsen who tuned in to watch the game on ABC on Sunday night, and you really realize the enormity and potential of that social media audience. For advertisers, it’s encouraging to see how well the NBA has developed its social media community. As a viewer, it’s fascinating to follow sportswriters on Twitter to get insider information that might not be mentioned by sports announcers catering to the mainstream TV viewer. How serious was that injury? It’s pretty much guaranteed that someone on Twitter will know (or at least be speculating) before it comes across your TV set.
On the other hand, the out-of-market digital experience has improved, but is still far from perfect. Being a NY sports fan living in Dallas, digital has allowed me to stay true to my Yankee roots (though, as you can tell, the Mavericks have found a little place in my heart) through text alerts, frequent Yankees.com visits and watching games online through the MLB At Bat app.
However, there are a lot of kinks to work out with the usual tug of war between cable companies and networks and between platforms. While I could purchase the MLB TV package through Time Warner, this doesn’t translate to being able to watch games online if I want to bring my iPad to the gym. Conversely, paying the MLB to have access to watch games online does not translate to watching on TV, and without 3G on my iPad, I can’t watch at the gym either. Every additional platform and service is an additional charge, and it gets expensive quickly. It’s so complicated that I’ve actually started bringing magazines to work out instead…and for this digitally savvy sports fan, that says a lot.
Anyone out there have any similar frustrations? Or a great digital experience during the Mavericks/Heat series?