Archive for June, 2009

RIP MJ: The world mourns the death of Michael Jackson on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Digg and the list goes on…

Hollywood

Photo credit to Sërch on Flickr.com

Never before have people around the world, across continents and nations, come together in such a special way to mourn the death of someone who has left behind music, entertainment and cultural legacies of such magnitude. The late and great Michael Jackson has transformed the way music, dance and videos are made, and crossed racial and cultural boundaries just by being himself. We simply can’t find another contemporary talent that matches his depth and breadth of musicality and charisma.

So why is our mourning special? What role does social media play in all this? #socialmedia made it possible for users around the world to replicate what Michael was able to do “virtually” – cross racial, cultural and geographical boundaries – and share notes of love, grief and encouragement with one another. Over a million tweets occurred over the last 24 hours, thousands of Digg and Facebook postings, and couple hundreds of songs and videos have been written by fans and artists around the world in remembrance of him. This spirit of collaborative condolences is the first of its kind in 2009, and the very first in such a global fashion. Gosh, I really think we’ve come to a crossroad now with information technology. I know the term “information technology” or “IT” might sound a bit old-fashioned for some, especially for the Gen-Yers and millenials, but I think social media tools have indeed taken IT to a brand new page in human civilization now where people don’t have to speak the same language to discover, understand, reflect, empathize and remember the impact of an issue or a person. Brand images and messages can be formed by words (and with the aid of pictures, videos and audio) in minutes, even seconds. People are united more cognitively and subliminally than they think, thanks to Twitter, Facebook and every other social buzz tools available in the digital space.

So what’s the big deal, why are we even reflecting on this matter? Because it is important. I know some folks in my professional and social circles still haven’t bought into the idea of #socialmedia nor are they appreciative of the power of #socialmedia and simply dismiss them as “fads” and “widgets”. Let’s face it, social media tools are NOT going away, period. Many more online tools will follow suit, join ranks, play the social game and be forgotten, but the good ones, the game-changing ones that help make our communication faster, more streamlined and optimized will stay, and probably for a very long time. I just hope me and my co-blogger won’t have to write another blog to address the inevitability and inimitability of social media power. Instead, let’s talk about the game-changers, strategy, usage and success stories!

Tribute to Michael Jackson from #Chamillionaire: THE GAME “BETTER ON THE OTHER SIDE” FEAT. CHRIS BROWN, DIDDY, POLOW DA DON, USHER, BOYZ 2 MEN, MARIO WINANS. http://www.chamillionaire.com/home/the-game-feat-chris-brown-diddy-polow-usher-boyz-2-men-mario-winans-mj-tribute.html
Last but not least, my favorite MJ song and MTV of all times – We Are the World (1985) http://bit.ly/woRsc

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How Social Media Redefines Integrated Marketing

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Remember those days when people talked about integrated marketing? They were referring to channels and media — print, TV, radio, event, Internet and so on. By now, we’ve come of age in terms of “integrating” marketing. Marketing has become such an integrated discipline that it’s impossible to do “marketing” and “advertising” apart from technologies used by consumers on a day-to-day basis. What are these day-to-day technologies? All of the social media tools available online – one integrated channel, all for free.
 
Imagine a world of advertising and marketing purely online – no more direct mail, newspapers and magazines. The focus will be on the consumers, users and fans – they will help us popularize our brand, spread our messaging and generate more content. Sounds like a marketing utopia, doesn’t it?
 
This is all reality now, with the advent of social media. Assuming every product or service has a dedicated website (with an eCommerce engine to take customer orders), a Blog to share information and knowledge, a Facebook page to create a fan base (generate business leads), a Twitter account to cultivate followers (more business leads), a LinkedIn group to interact with industry communities (more leads and publicity for your business), a YouTube channel for its latest product or service offering (free advertising online), and a marketing/advertising powerhouse behind all these tools to push the technology envelope to its limit – I think we’ve got something pretty powerful going on here.
 
If all of the above (except for a marketing/advertising powerhouse, which takes time and talent to build up) are absolutely free for use, then why isn’t every company embracing and adopting social media? Why is there still a great deal of skepticism, myths and under-information lingering out there about the intent and power of social media tools? Let’s take on “under-information” for a moment here. How many company CEOs and business owners are taking time to read up on these tools? Yes, they may have people working for them who know something about social media, and they may even have a marketing department in the company whose main mission is to drive sales and advertising programs, but are these folks informing their C-level management about these tools with a sense of clarity and urgency? Are these folks believers of social media itself?
 

Social media tools are things you can’t simply read up on like you do about computers, cameras or refrigerators. These are interactive, creative and living technologies that grow and change with users and developers every day. One has to dive in, play with the tools, test-drive them and make them part of your life. (Live and breathe them!) Majority of these social media tools can be embedded and adapted across different sites. To integrate them into your sales/marketing/advertising strategy is NOT difficult if you are clear about the objectives and audience you’re trying to hit, come up with a strategy and implement the technologies required to fulfill your strategy. Implementation is KEY. Without integrating these tools as essential elements of your business marketing process, you simply won’t be able to enjoy the abundance of features, functions and benefits these tools have to offer.

I still think we’re coming close to a marketing utopia, if we’re not there yet…

Moving Beyond Experimentation to Revolution: Social Media is Relevant and pervasive

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While many are converting to become social networkers and social media marketers, some folks are still twiddling their thumbs about the power and relevance of social media networks and tools, and how their business can leverage them to grow and transform. In my business, I encounter these “laggards” all the time.

TNS Cymfony, a company whose core competency is to tell brands and companies what their consumers are saying about them, recently published the Complete Guide to Build Support for, Implement and Generate Business Results from Social Media Programs. I was so excited to see that and wanted to share with everyone I know. http://www.cymfony.com/Knowledge-Center/From-Buy-In-to-Business-Results

From the evolution of digital communication (discussion groups -> email marketing-> consumer review sites-> photo-sharing-> virtual communities (Second Life) -> video sharing -> social networks), online tools like these have gradually yet rapidly enhanced consumers’ experience and influence over their peers, which have in turn influenced the popularity, marketing campaign and brand image of different products. This feedback loop is now pervasive and relevant to every line of product and service. Word of Mouth (WOM), though a relatively older term in the Web 2.0 world, has now taken on a new life form—WOM can now feed off any social media channel and kick back decisions made by major corporations if they were not going the way their consumers wanted or anticipated. The amount of insight companies can gather these days about their products over social network sites can now subvert or convert the product development plan of any major brand product company. Talk about the real power of market research and product marketing, but above all, the power of consumers and especially of consumers online.

We must embrace the advent of social media and be part of it. We’ll address the planning and development of a comprehensive social media strategy for your company on the next blog.

Photo credit to spleenboy on Flickr.com

What not to tweet if you want to save your reputation, life and overall well-being

Tweets get around. To avoid social media gaffes, here are some examples of things you DON’T want to put on your social media network from Twitter to Facebook to MySpace:

1) I have a serious hangover from a party last night
2) I have depression
3) I’m about to kill someone
4) I’m on a job hunt – help!
5) The company I work at sucks
6) I just got a ticket for reckless (drunk) driving
7) The alimony I’m paying to my ex is dragging me down
8) Any financial advice for someone in serious debt?
9) Just got dumped by my ex…
10) I’m seeking a relationship…contact me if you’re interested

You get the point. Emotions, money issues and intimate sharing are best kept OUTSIDE of your social media network.

Are your readers showing fatigue toward your emails?

It happens way too often, and companies are doing it – treading the landmines of “reader fatigue”. I have a classic real-life example. A business group sends out another email campaign within three weeks after another – different subject matter, but same audience and sender/brand name. Even with an incentive offer in place, the second email campaign returned 2-3 percentage points lower open rate, 50 percentage points higher opt-out rate and 40 percentage points lower clickthrough rate. Statistically, it’s obvious that reader fatigue occurred. Realistically, we won’t know the results until a later date (we measure results over the course of four to six weeks). Alarming stats but marketers in big corps and large organizations often feel “compelled” to roll with “reader fatigue” in the hope of boosting sales in the short-run. How does it pan out in the long-run? More opt-outs and less favored opinions about your brand. After all, who wants to hear from a commercial brand once a month offering similar products and services? Hold your horses, time your email campaigns strategically, decrease frequency and increase relevance and touchpoints from the email, and cultivate a loyal reader base through consistency, relevance and quality – you’ll start to see the difference and benefit in the long run.

I stumbled upon this great powerpoint/whitepaper resource from the Retail Email Blog that echoes my point http://www.retailemailblog.com/2009/05/executive-series-on-email-marketing-why.html