The Trials and Tribulations of Viral Marketing Execution


The online viral campaign to bring down Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army of child soldiers, has generated extraordinary global coverage: Everyone is talking about it. Whether or not you agree with the message and means used in the “Kony 2012” campaign, it has been extraordinarily successful in raising awareness of the child soldier issue. Over 83 million people have viewed their online video in the space of two weeks, making it the most successful viral video in history.
Public reaction to the campaign highlights key challenges for any organisation engaging in social media marketing – How do you prepare your brand for public criticism, when the purpose of any campaign is to generate support? In addition, how do you measure success? So what if you have hundreds of facebook “Likes”? What’s the point of widespread publicity if it doesn’t prompt people to take action?

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New Media and the Forces of Creative Destruction

By Mike Hickinbotham, Head of New Media, Telstra

New media is defining a new era of business. The forces of creative destruction are carving out the corporation of the adjacent future.  Here’s an example:

Procter & Gamble – Reaping the Benefits of Creative Destruction

Why the ‘big idea’ is still important

Procter & Gamble (P&G) CEO Robert McDonald said, “historically, the 9% to 11% range [for advertising as a percentage of sales] has been what we have spent… In the digital space, with things like Facebook and Google and others, we find that the return on investment of the advertising, when properly designed, when the big idea is there, can be much more efficient. One example is our Old Spice campaign, where we had 1.8 billion free impressions”.

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How to Create a Killer Authority Outreach Map

By Simon Penson, MD, Zazzle Media and guest blogger, Econsultancy.

Google’s eponymous Panda update and recent Search + Your World integration has changed the landscape as far as reward for quality content is concerned.

Out of it is growing a new industry based around intelligent content marketing and authority outreach.

In my first post for Econsultancy I want to explore this area in more detail and give some insight into how best to approach the task of discovering, and then reaching out to, the right people to maximise return on your time invested.

Ever since reading Mike Kings’ five principles to better outreach link building early on in 2011 I’ve been experimenting with how data led outreach can help the process of reaching out to website owners and bloggers to increase the conversion, and therefore the effectiveness of my time spent on outreach.

With a lot of testing and experimenting we’ve managed to hugely improve our hit rate, which is good for us but, most importantly, for those that benefit from our services and the right kind of links or visibility that this kind of approach attracts (now more important than ever before in a Post Panda world).

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Is Automation Killing the “Social” in Social Media?

By Molly Hoffmeister, marketing content specialist at Pardot.

Imagine this. You decide to follow one of your favorite brands on Twitter and moments later, you experience the briefest jolt of excitement when you see that said brand has sent you a direct message on Twitter. Yet instead, you find the most generic marketing message conceivable: “Thx for following. We’d love to have you as a fan on our Facebook page, too…” Womp, womp.

As automation moves into the social sphere and marketers can easily automate tweets, messages, Facebook posts, and more, there’s a risk that automation will make social media less, well, social. But automation doesn’t have to defeat the very purpose of social media. When it comes to balancing marketing automation with social outreach, here are several tips to keep in mind.

DON’T automate “personal” messages. The biggest problem with automating social posts is that an automated response abuses the personal communication aspect of social media. Direct messaging on Twitter is intended as a private and, therefore, more personal way to communicate with followers. So, if you chose to use this more personal form of Twitter communication, make sure that your messages are, in fact, personal. Provide a special discount or offering exclusively for new followers, or skip the automation and take the time to write a personalised message.

DO automate content distribution tweets. It is perfectly acceptable to automate some of your social activities. Use automated postings with messages that don’t need to be personal; for example, content distribution or product announcements. Social media is ideal for delivering information to a large group of people, and scheduling posts like these can actually create a win-win situation: it saves you, the marketer, from having to post the announcement of a new blog post to each of your company’s multiple social media channels; and provides your followers with valuable and timely information.

Consider the issue of timing. Your followers are still active on social media on days off. Schedule an extra blog to publish over the weekend, and schedule a social posting to alert followers of the release. Or, if you have weekly webinars, schedule posts reminding followers when they will happen and where they can sign up. Automating messages like these can help reach prospects and clients in different time zones, and, unlike email, the same message can be sent several times without becoming a nuisance.

DON’T “set it and forget it.” Social media marketing is a great way to quickly distribute your content to a large group of people, but what really makes this form of marketing unique is that it provides your company with the invaluable opportunity to personally engage with prospects and clients about your content. This personal communication is social media’s greatest value to companies, and it can’t be faked. So remember that while scheduling postings can save you a lot of time, it’s not an excuse to leave your social media channels unmanned. Even if you’ve a scheduled a whole fleet of content distribution postings, actively monitor your social media outlets and personally respond to feedback within 24 hours. A good rule of thumb is to log on to social media pages daily.

DO take advantage of reporting features. When handled correctly, integrating social media with marketing automation software can have numerous benefits. Not only does it allow the marketer to schedule postings in advance, integrating marketing automation with social media marketing also allows marketers to see detailed reports on prospects’ interactions with their posts, and build a more comprehensive prospect profile. Having a record of these exchanges is valuable to sales reps and can also help marketers figure out what works in social marketing.

Finally, remember that finding a balance between automated content distribution postings and personal interactions is an ongoing process. Manually check in on your social media channels once a day, and make sure that you’re posting at least one personal interaction daily in addition to automated tweets. It can be a response to feedback on your posts or something as simple as re-tweeting a helpful article–any action to let your followers know that you’re actively engaged with your social media outlets. Marketing automation can help marketers get the most out of social media efforts; just don’t overdo the automation and defeat social marketing’s most valuable advantage: personal connections.

This article was reproduced from the 1 to 1 Media Group Blog. To subscribe to this blog, click here

Why you may be Sabotaging your Social Media Marketing

By Mike Hickinbotham, Head of New Media, Telstra

Fascinated by Research in Motion’s (RIM) efforts to reverse their declining market share, I read with interest a post by Alex Goldfayn titled 7 Marketing Lessons from RIM’s Failures. One of the marketing lessons was RIM’s inability to determine if their customer was the enterprise or the consumer. As a social marketer, you could be making a similar mistake. You could be sabotaging your social marketing efforts if you are failing to determine if your objective is to target customers or consumers.


Step one – Learn who makes up the majority of your followers

Chadwick Martin Bailey and Constant Contact’s research highlights the majority of brand followers are customers. In Facebook, 58% of people that follow a brand are customers and in Twitter, 64% of people that follow brands are customers. Using research conducted by Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, an Australia-based marketing think tank, Advertising Age states “Facebook fan bases skew toward heavy buyers rather than more casual shoppers”. While the research indicates your customers are the majority of your followers, it’s important to assess the split of customers to consumers on your accounts. One way of doing this is by assessing the customer/consumer personas of people that have a voice on your social accounts.

Step two – Determine if you are sabotaging your marketing efforts

A customer versus a consumer based social media campaign has two very different business objectives. When targeting customers, it’s likely you will focus on upsell/cross sell opportunities and reducing churn rates. When targeting consumers, it’s likely you will focus on raising awareness and increasing acquisition. If the majority of your fans are customers, long-term social marketing efforts targeting consumer acquisition will require a different social media strategy than if your objective is reducing customer churn.

Step three – Strategies to build inside (customer) out (consumers)

Focus on your customers and set yourself up to allow WOM to scale quickly To start off, every brand is in a different situation with operating variables that ranges from talk-ability of the industry (ex: fashion versus insurance) to resources (ex: media budget to raise awareness of social marketing to a mass audience). If you are using social media to achieve a commercial outcome, investing resources in media is critical to access a mass audience that will expose your content to consumers.

Aim for quality over quantity. Finding fans that are ‘brand loyal’ requires a strong focus on product or brand related programming/content. Avoid offering too many attention grabbing discounts because you won’t know if they like the brand or the discounts.

Make your content ‘liquid’. Develop content that could increase the user’s social capital. In reference to Coca Cola, Jeff Bullas talks about liquid content as “creating ‘Ideas’ so contagious that they cannot be controlled”. This can aid your efforts to have your customers share your content within their social networks that could help expose your content to potential consumers.

Tap into offline networks. MIT published a report that states media exposure and traditional networks were critical to Twitter’s early growth. The video below profiles Twitter’s early growth.

Critical mass was first achieved in San Francisco and quickly spread to the area around Boston. This correlates with the common knowledge these two regions are home to a similar base of young and tech-savvy individuals with shared common interests.

How does this insight relate to you?

  • What social proofs intersect with your product/service that can be leveraged to fuel the big idea behind your social marketing?
  • Can you assess any geographical trends for new product adoption either from online sales or your retail presence?
  • How are the rates of adoption for your products and service corresponding to media exposure either through paid or earned (PR) media?

Mike Hickinbotham is currently Head of New Media for Telstra. This blog was originally produced by Mike for his personal blog, “Socialising the Corporation

Facebook Credits may be illegal in the US

By Patricio Robles, Technology Reporter, Econsultancy

In the run-up to the Facebook IPO, some observers in the US are casting a skeptical eye towards the social network’s advertising business. Ads, not surprisingly, account for much of the company’s revenue, and there are certainly some areas of concern.

But if two lawyers in the US have their way, Facebook’s virtual currency business, which many believe is also crucial to the company’s future, could be facing major challenges.

According to attorneys Derek Newman and Brian Strange, Facebook’s requirement that game developers on its platform use Facebook Credits exclusively is not only harmful to Facebook users, it’s potentially illegal.

They’ve launched a website, Stop Facebook Credits, which explains:

“United States antitrust laws prohibit a company with dominant market power (like Facebook) from “tying” one service to another. An illegal tying arrangement means the supplier is exploiting its control over the tying product (here, the social-media game platform) to force the customer (the game developer) into accepting a tied product (Facebook Credits) that the customer either did not want, or might have preferred to purchase elsewhere.”

The website claims Facebook Credits:

  • “Cost game developers tens of millions of dollars each month in excessive fees.”
  • “Prevent every other virtual-currency provider from offering a competitive service for games on Facebook.”
  • “Deny the gaming public a competitive marketplace.”

The solution? Newman Du Wors LLP and Strange & Carpenter, the law firms run by Newman and Strange, are looking for plaintiffs who are interested in pursuing “the damages you suffered because of the Facebook Credits monopoly.” In other words, it appears they’re looking to file a class action based on antitrust claims.

To be sure, the legal arguments are interesting. Even if Facebook thinks they have no real merit, a class action that could impede the development of one of its most important revenue streams probably isn’t what the company wants right now. Unfortunately for Facebook, with an IPO potentially worth $100bn on the way, it should expect that this won’t be the last lawyerly attack on its business.

This blog was re-posted from the Econsultancy Blog and was written by their technology reporter, Patricio Robles

Can the financial sector really thrive on social media?

By Tanara Littleton, CEO, eModeration (UK) (Originally Posted for eConsultancy UK)

The strictly regulated financial services industry has, in the past, shied away from social media engagement.

Common objections, even a year ago, were: people don’t want to talk to their bank, it’s too risky, too expensive or not relevant. But despite a slow start, things are starting to change.

It turns out that people do want to talk to their banks – specifically younger customers.

Recent research by Sitel, reported on Econsultancy, shows that 15% of 16-24 year-olds choose to interact with customer service on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and forums.

first direct has been particularly innovative within social media, providing people with a way to connect with each other and recommend places to go (via the Little Black Book).

Plus, the brand has shown that it’s listening by launching first direct Live which shows the online feedback that the brand is getting. These initiatives, in addition to its social media news room, have given the brand a great advantage without contravening any regulations.

HSBC (which is a client) is also very active on social media. Its 2011 Facebook competition invited students to submit a video of how they planned to make their mark on the world, using a combination of user votes and a judging panel to select eight winners to receive a £15,000 bursary.

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What’s the Secret to Customer-Centric Success?

Ginger Conlon, Editorial Director, 1to1 Media

When it comes to using customer centricity to improve business performance, there is no one secret formula for success. Customers, companies, and the relationships between them are unique. Therefore, each organisation’s customer-centric business strategy must be unique, as well.

Consider Apple and Costco. The customer experiences these two companies deliver are vastly different. Yet, each has customers who are completely enamored and each consistently ranks high in various customer experience ratings. The reason? Each company is true to its mission and delivers on its promises. Apple customers know they’ll get amazing, beautifully designed products and are willing to pay a premium for them; Costco customers, on the other hand, will happily stand in long checkout lines to get the deals the retailer provides.

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A New form of Social Engagement: Marketers can Finally Interact with TV


Until now, TV networks have struggled with dwindling advertising, as advertisers become more and more focused on one-to-one customer engagement. This is now changing with the phenomenal growth of smartphones and social, which are paving the way for one-to-one interaction to take off in the world of television. Marketers are now dealing with a new form of customer engagement and a growing force; the masses talking back on TV through social media. The question is how are marketers going to react?

In 2011, the MIT Technology Review published a cover story which focused on the emergence of Social TV analytics and its applications in the TV advertising industry. It stated that of the approximately 300 million public comments made online worldwide every day – about two-thirds of them on twitter – some 10 million, on average, are related to television.

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Google+ Brand Pages: 20 of the Best Photo Strips

Australian marketers are still waiting to see the impact that Google+ has on the industry. Vikki Chowney recently posted a blog for Econsultancy in the US which compiled the top 20 brands that have the best visual impact on Google+. Would love to hear your thoughts on how Google+ is going for your organisation and whether it’s a focus for our industry at present.

by Vikki Chowney, News Editor, Econsultancy

Google+ is growing rapidly: business pages are taking hold, and the platform is becoming a viable marketing channel for larger brands at least.

It’s definitely short of room to manoeuvre when it comes to how your profile looks however. Each page is locked down to the same structure (for now), and so at the moment there’s not a lot you can do. Continue reading