Posts tagged social media

More Advertising, Please

I am SO sick of companies thinking that if they give you a taste of content that they’re entitled to blast you with tons of worthless, one-way advertising. Disgusting.

A few times a week, I have to endure receiving the “Neighborhoods” version of the Reno Gazette-Journal in the mail. There are a lot of problems with this publication, despite it not delivering on its promise of news in my area of town. This publication is nothing more than a shell for advertising. In this latest issue, it contained 3 pages of content/articles (and 2 of those three pages contained some advertising), and 214 pages of advertising. I’ll repeat those stats – 3 pages of articles, 214 pages of advertising!!! That’s almost 99% advertising. I know, you’re wondering how the hell that’s possible. I must have my numbers wrong. Nope – I counted three times (I’m careful, plus I often waste my time if I can make a point).

RGJ Neighborhoods

RGJ Neighborhoods

99% Ads

99% Ads

Of the flood of ads I received in my newspaper, how many were relevant to me? Who knows? I don’t. I typically throw this whole package away because I know that I am not getting any relevant content in that publication. Advertisers – you are wasting your money! 

It’s no surprise to see that consumers are growing increasingly weary of this kind of “interruption advertising” and turn to communication channels in which they can better control the interaction. Yes, I’m talking about everybody’s favorite hot topic – social media. Sadly, advertisers are already in full stride toward the gold rush that is social media, and treating it the same way they’ve abused mass media. This parasitic behavior makes me ill and angry all at once. Some advertisers are  slithering their way into the established communities in different social media channels, and treating it like their own “Neighborhoods.” Are they giving members of their communities valuable content, meaningful conversation or a symbiotic relationship? Nope. They treat it as a new place to put their ads (and advertisements take many forms). I am warning advertisers again, that you should treat social media like this only if you want to fail. 

You think you’re participating in social media? Re-examine that notion – because if you’re not “playing by the new rules,” you will fail. Have you created a blog and are simply posting your press releases there? Fail. Maybe you created a Facebook page – but is there any community interaction other than you blasting out promotional messages? Fail. Maybe you have a Twitter account so that you can syndicate your blog entries of your press releases. Fail. Are your YouTube videos nothing more than advertisements (be honest)? Fail. I encourage diversification of your presence in social media – but you have to think differently in this arena. It’s not another advertising platform. It’s a community-based form of communication. If I invited you over to my house for dinner, and all you talked about was how Cinnamon Toast Crunch was $2.95, or that your new pickup truck had 250 horsepower or some other way I should come spend money with you… I would never invite you over ever again. Please understand the analogy here.

So – anybody who is putting out content – be it in publications or in social media – evaluate your communications. How much of it is promotional? Don’t let it be 99%. Not even close.

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Twitter adds 4 million users in 2008

Twitter numbers are in for 2008 (well, Dec 07 – Dec 08), and they exploded! They boosted their numbers from about 500,000 in December 2007 to about 4.5 million in December 2008. In fact, they gained one million unique visitors in December 2008 alone. This reinforces my anecdotal observations. I, for one, LOVE Twitter. I think it’s great, and will continue to get better. Some people hate it. It will interesting to see how it progresses from here. (btw – @mikemcdowell if you’re not already following me).

Anecdotally, again, I have really seen an increase in the number of brands that are using Twitter now. Sadly, I feel like many brands are f’ing things up. They start following people based on keywords. Yeah, they use automated services that “auto-follow” people on Twitter based on keywords. This feels a little like phishing to me (I know, not the same, but kinda the same concept). What’s equally unbearable, is that once they follow a person, they don’t use Twitter effectively as the communication medium it is. They use it to blast promotional messages, offer nothing to their followers, etc. I rant more about this in a previous post.

The other interesting trend to look at (which I saw at Mashable), are the trends for social network giants Facebook and Myspace. Facebook has now caught up, and in fact, passed Myspace. They both trump Twitter’s 4.5 million, as they are bringing home about 60 million. Eiher way, interesting trends. Take a look at the graph:

Also, big props to Compete.com, a pretty nice website analytics website (that’s where these charts came from).

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You’ve Got to Treat Her Like a Lady

I was prepared to write about brands on Twitter. I was going to argue that brands definitely should be on Twitter (based on a recent discussion that I read on MashableExhibit A, Exhibit B). While I still support brands on Twitter and other social media, I have seen so many bad examples, that I need to air my grievances about fellow marketers who are rushing to use this shiny new toy they heard about (for fear of being left behind) called social media. And, in doing so, are treating it like advertising, and tainting the landscape for everybody. 

Ahh – Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose – you were so wise when you wrote “Treat Her Like a Lady.” You and many other romantics truly understand social media. We marketers should pay attention to those beautiful songs to have an equal understanding of how to interact in social media.  

Some marketers are like that guy who is verbally or physically abusive to his girlfriend. Sure, she trusted him at first – she may have even believed she could change him. But, what he did was jade her toward other men; perfectly good and well-intentioned men who just want to talk or listen. But she has every right to be jaded. Why should she trust you, or me, or any other guy (brand) from here on out? Why welcome them with open trusting arms, only to be blasted with abusive, one-sided messages, and unwanted garbage? 

Do you see what you did, jerk-faced marketer? You’re ruining it for the rest of us! We could be good for her. We could give her what she wants and needs out of a relationship. But you ruined it! Here’s what you did wrong.

YOU ACTED LIKE AN ADVERTISEMENT.

Yes, that is shameful in the social media arena. The one thing that SO MANY marketers (be they agencies or independent) forget is that social media is really quite simple. Lean in closely as I tell you the secret to unlock the true power of social media…

TREAT SOCIAL MEDIA LIKE A GENUINE, TRUTHFUL, CARING RELATIONSHIP. (sorry for the all-caps again, I’m getting irritated)

I know that for many of you, maintaining a relationship is one of the most difficult endeavors you’ve ever encountered. If that’s the case, you can use this blog post to improve your success in social media, and in your love life. You’re welcome. 

Treat her like a lady

Treat her like a lady

1. Offer some value to the relationship. What do you offer her? Seriously, think about that question. Don’t tell me periodic discounts and links to your blog, Casanova. What does she get out of the relationship? Is the relationship all about you – all about what you can get out of her? For shame! Do something for her without concern of how it benefits you.

2. You must listen to your lady. This is HUGE! Would you want to stay in a relationship with somebody who just talks and talks and talks about themselves? Hell no. Nobody does. You aren’t that interesting – admit it. This is another example of a one-sided relationship. Listen to her talk about her day. And don’t listen with an eagerness for her to finish her sentence so you can talk about yourself again. Listen with genuine concern, because you care about her and you care about what’s important to her. Then talk to her about the things that are important to her. 

3. Let her get to know you. Be a person, not a character. Open up – let her know what makes you tick. Let her know what makes you happy and sad. Share your life with her. Be vulnerable. Be sincere. It’s easy to act like you care for somebody when you actually care for them. She will love you for it. She will be loyal to you.

4. Do something nice for her, just because. Unexpectedly, do something nice for your lady. The pre-requisite here is that you’ve listened to her, and you know what she wants. Trust me, this gets you a long way for a long time. But you can’t give some thoughtless gift, like that little stuffed teddy bear holding a heart that you grabbed at the gas station 5 minutes before you got home. 

5. Never think you’re better than her. Do you really think she should be grateful to simply be with you? You’re God’s gift to her, huh? Nope. A relationship is about mutual respect and understanding. A relationship is about love, trust and openness. If you want her to think you’re special, treat her like she’s special to you.

6. Continue to court her. Once she says she’ll date you doesn’t mean you’ve locked her in, and can do what you want. It will be much harder to try to get her back once you’ve lost her. So don’t lose her – keep showing her how much you want her. 

7. There is no blueprint for romance. Romance is about knowing the other person, knowing what is important and special to them, and knowing what will excite them. If you don’t know that, you’re not in a strong relationship.

So, remember, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the like are not new billboards for you to place your ad. You don’t have a right to be with the people here. But, you can be here. Be a person first (brands can be people with attitudes, feelings, convictions, etc), then seek relationships. If you can prove that you’re here to foster relationships, rather that extort them, you will be welcomed with open arms, and you will be loved. But don’t you dare make the mistake of thinking you can keep a relationship here without putting in the time, effort and care that any real-life relationship require. That’s right, a real relationship. And this time, make sure you treat her like a lady.

Good example of a BAD BRAND on Twitter

Good example of a BAD BRAND on Twitter

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Twitter for Business

I have read a TON of articles about using Twitter for business. Most of them pretty good. I think it is a brilliant tool for the businesses that are willing to participate. That keyword needs to be repeated – PARTICIPATE. Use Twitter like it isn’t just another outlet for your promotional message. Are you the kind of tool who goes to a dinner party and tries to sell something to everybody you meet? That’s how some businesses use Twitter. BUT – the businesses that treat this like an opportunity to have a conversation and a relationship that is valuable to its followers, they WIN.

Below are the slides from an Ogilvy Twitter for Business presentation. Not brand new, but a good collection of tips for businesses that want to use Twitter to engage their end users and to listen to unfiltered conversations about their brands. 

Ogilvy Twitter for Business

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Gary F’in Vaynerchuk Talks About the Future of Social Media

If you have never heard of Gary Vaynerchuk and you have anything to do with new or social media – get familiar with his work… fast. Also, if you are a fan of wine, the New York Jets, or foul language, you will REALLY like Gary. He has some kick-ass energy and I love the guy (but hey, I’m married, and I’m a Cowboys fan, so I don’t think it would work between the two of us. But I digress…)

REPOST from Mashable.com

The wine and web marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk was canvassing on the streets of New York on Wednesday night: bringing the “Yes We Can” mantra to the web community.

The meetup, co-organized with Mashable, began as a cozy indoor networking affair. But with high volume levels inside, the group gleefully marched out to the street for an upbeat pep talk; a location much more suited to the themes of improvisation and resourcefulness.

Video: Staying Upbeat in a Down Market

The full video of the “sidewalk keynote” is posted below, courtesy of CenterNetworks. (Warning: contains strong language throughout.) Or skip to the “7 Points” below for our summary.

Gary’s 7 Points on a Social Media Upturn

1. “Hustle” – improvise, be resourceful, do whatever it takes to care for your community. Tough times require creative solutions.

2. “Next 24 months are the biggest opportunity for social media” – social media is mature. “It’s a baby. But it’s mature. It’s a baby with a mustache.”

3. “Large companies will cut social media because they don’t understand it” – the longer the big players stay away from new web technologies, the greater the opportunity for new entrants.

4. “The new barrier to building a brand is your time, not your pocketbook” – nobody can stop you from starting a global media brand from your house; all you need is time.

5. “Telling main street about Twitter is a waste of time” – keep it quiet; knowledge of new web technologies is your competitive advantage.

6. “Take Your Money” – go to Google, type in the keywords in your space. Look at the ads next to the results: these are people who pay to market in your niche. Call them. Convince them to spend those dollars on you instead.

7. “Anything that gets eyeballs is monetizable” – 2500 unique visitors a day should be enough to live on.


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