Social Media ROI is not just a catch phrase used by stealthy marketers of the past. A new generation of corporate marketing managers are finding innovative ways to redefine return on investment for the social space. The marketers toolkit now includes Facebook applications that entertain, encourage customer engagement and distribute content in return for measurable data. Marketo developed the “Revenue Rockstar” multi-marketing platform to do just that. Continue reading
The Great St. Louis Soccer Dribble took place at Robert R. Hermann Soccer Stadium on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at Saint Louis University in the heart of Midtown. A grand total of 428 dribblers and countless spectators participated to break the world record. Mayor Francis Slay, @Mayor Slay on Twitter, was the honorary chair and Bill McDermott was the vibrant MC. Each participant received an event t-shirt, ball and tickets to the SLU vs. Akron soccer game the same evening. Continue reading
Many businesses across the country are grapping with the question: “Should we be using social media?” Or maybe they’re asking an even more pointed and inappropriate question: “Should we be trying to sell more product using social media?” Companies that have been sending direct mail pieces, and running print ads, radio ads, even TV ads… they’re asking themselves, “Is social media a space we should be playing in?”
Scorch’s answer (and my own answer) is a big YES! But perhaps the greater question is, “Which of those traditional interruption-based advertising mediums should we be replacing right now with a devoted and concentrated social media engagement strategy?
When it comes to restaurants’ use of social media, AJ Bombers in Milwaukee, WI is just killing it. Joe Sorge, owner, has used social media exclusively to promote his burger joint, and it’s working because of his undying belief in the medium (along with excellent food. Including a burger with peanut butter on it. Don’t argue with me. Eat it once and you’ll know). You would struggle to find a business owner that’s more on top of the tweets swirling around his business than Joe.
An agency like Scorch can help with something like this, and we do an excellent job. Joe has a leg up and he helps himself, because he truly believes in the core principle of what Gary Vaynerchuk calls, “The Thank You Economy.” When I visited AJ Bombers for the second time in a week to conduct my interview, Joe was engaged in conversation at a customer table. I grabbed a beer and chatted with this staff, thinking he might be awhile. I was right – he spent a ton of time chatting up the folks that made their way into his establishment. Joe is hands-on, both online and offline, and the combination is helping AJ Bombers meet with huge success.
Thanks to Joe for talking to me, and thanks for the hospitality when I came in with my family. My daughters loved throwing peanut shells on the floor! Joe, I’ll be back up next summer – see you for a Quad AJ Burger – I can do it!
Buy Joe’s book, TwitterWorks, Restaurant 2.0 Edition.
I was meeting with a business colleague recently – a company that I would love to work with. As I was discussing things with the head of marketing, I was explaining what Scorch specializes in and how we might be able to help. Almost immediately, he said, “I know, I know, social media is the place to be.” The person was trying to assure me that, even though they had no money budgeted for social media, they understood the importance of it. I believe in it, too – I would not be at my dream job without it.
However, just “being” on social media misses the mark. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are just tools. They are not the magic elixir, or the secret password to get into the exclusive nightclub. They themselves don’t make good things happen. They’re just tools. They are tools that came on the scene, and they will eventually go away or be supplanted (Myspace and Friendfeed, come baaaaack!)
It’s a much bigger deal than just using social media. It is this: no matter what kind of company you are, LET YOUR HAIR DOWN. This is the challenge facing companies and brands today. It’s not about registering a Twitter account and handing it to the summer intern. Great, you opened a Twitter account – here’s your cookie! (*cookie not included). What are you going to do with that account now?
Well, if you shotgun blast buy buy buy messages from it, prepare for disappointment. If your tweets look like they went through “Legal,” that won’t do. If your company has a policy of not engaging people on Twitter for fear of potential negative publicity (yes, there are companies like this), you’re completely missing the boat.
Companies do not need to embrace the idea of talking about their products. They’re already way too good at that. Every company thinks they have the most awesome product ever. I am just as guilty here! My tees and Scorch’s product offerings are so great! So what? No one will care unless you engage them, entertain them, inform them, and help them. Traditional marketing sometimes entertains, and sometimes helps. Letting your hair down by using social media allows you to easily do all four.
Radio, TV, print, direct mail, sponsorships, and billboards = traditional media. Come on, let your hair down! Grab a Flip Cam and interview your employees about what it’s like to work for you, and put those videos on YouTube and embed them on your site. It will help with recruiting, and no, you’re not selling anything at this point. Volunteer in your community AND blog about it. You’re still not selling. Share your expertise in the form of a regular blog series (video, podcast, or the written word. Or all three!). You are still not selling, and yet people will be sold.
Best yet, try to do something as freaking amazing as Old Spice. Their now-famous series of 200 near-real-time Youtube video responses is, from a marketing logistics perspective, completely shocking. Try to picture their agency Wieden + Kennedy pitching this idea to a conservative consumer products company like Proctor & Gamble. Pampers, Tide, Bounty… these are huge venerable family brands that P&G has to protect. ”So you want to stick a muscular dude in a towel – our now-famous spokesperson – and shoot 200 YouTube videos and blast them out on this Twitter thing? We don’t get it.” Instead, they said “Go for it.” Proctor & Gamble let their hair down. Frankly, so did Wieden + Kennedy. They’re in the business of creating high-budget knockout 30 second TV ads, and here they made 200 slightly lower budget ads in two days. Does this cheapen their high-budget 30-second ad offering? Who knows, it might! But they went for it anyway. Huge kudos to Proctor & Gamble and Wieden + Kennedy.
What do you guys think? Can architects, CPA firms, law firms, and the like let their hair down and engage, inform, help, and entertain people in a way similar to Old Spice? I encourage you to comment below and let me know what you think.
Playing the part of Internet DJ, here’s a sampling of what Scorchers have been reading lately.
1.) Darren Rowse at Problogger.net has a nice article on how to get things done when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Often when we’re freaking out, when we have a plate stacked high with things to do… we end up getting less done. It can be a paralyzing feeling, and our new 140-character culture is changing us from being task-oriented beings to ADD Shiny Red Ball beings. Darren’s article is what I call a “duh” article – his four steps seem like common sense. That’s grand – now go get started! I have 10+ things on my to-do list today (yes I use lists in an attempt to keep things from slipping through the cracks), and yet I had to force my butt into the Aeron to write this post. Choose to get things done!
2.) Chris Brogan writes about the countless ways people can now communicate with us. Scorch Agency is in the communication business, so you might think we’d be excited at the explosion of communication options. However, just look at the list he offers: multiple email accounts (some with chat), Facebook (wall, chat, private message), Twitter (public tweets and DMs), SMS, the contact form on your website or websites, LinkedIn, the telephone (even voicemail!), and face to face. I didn’t even include Google Wave or Google Buzz. Companies are being communicated with on each platform, and the trick is to listen extremely well and communicate back. Chris’ point is spot-on — this new world actually makes a smart phone completely necessary.
3.) Renée Revetta over on Marketing Pilgrim writes about Facebook’s ability to dynamically create ads for your business. When you provide Facebook Ads a URL, it instantly creates a suggested Facebook ad for you by pulling the title tag, meta description, and an image associated with the main content. For those that want to get an ad done quickly, Renée thinks the service works pretty well. However, if your ad requires a specific call to action, you’ll probably want to edit your auto-generated ad content.
Something awesome is happening in St. Peters, MO. As a St. Charles County native, I’m fully aware of how non sequitur that statement is, but bear with me.
The cow on Mid Rivers Mall Drive across from Vista Grande is on Facebook! That’s right! Bessie! An offbeat St. Peters landmark for many years, with the crazy seasonal clothes and hats, a random backyard cow statue now has a huge Facebook fan page.
First, some background. The Cow on Mid Rivers Mall Dr. has been in a private backyard facing the road for several years. The owners change its clothes based on the seasons, current events, or important causes. Bessie joined Facebook on Friday, May 4th, 2010, and in that short time, she has gained almost 9,000 incredibly localized fans from all age groups. The page has hundreds of comments from St. Peters natives sharing stories and memories about the cow.
This has marketing relevance for several reasons as it relates to the demographic of St. Charles, and it’s worth bringing to the attention of those who aren’t in on the silly suburban joke. And it’s not that St. Charles people are crazy – don’t be jealous that we have more Wal-Marts than you. What makes the St. Charles business culture unique?
1) St. Charles residents connected with a quirk in their physical landscape. Of particular importance to St. Charles is that much of the landscape in the county looks pretty similar. Lacking the mash-up variety and personality of urban St. Louis, the suburban sprawl of St. Charles is overly familiar.
2) St. Charles residents connect with their families. Many people left comments saying something about their children always wanting to see “what was up with the cow today!” Families are dominant in St. Charles culture.
3) St. Charles residents connect with each other. Things like this recurred among the comments on their page:
4) Most importantly, St. Charles residents connect with Facebook! Almost 9,000 fans in two months for a plastic cow? That’s incredible! And if my own family and their friends are an accurate core sample, Facebook is hoppin’ in St. Charles.
Strangely enough, though, if you conduct a search on Facebook for businesses in “St. Charles, MO,” and narrow by Pages (the now-standard business pages on Facebook), you get 28 results. Only 28! Conversely, there are 252 Groups found under the same search, the top of which is just for St. Charles enthusiasts and it has almost 4,000 members.
What is this giant Facebook divide between community and business? Are businesses skeptical of the power of social media? St. Charles is actually a treasure trove of opportunity for the right business willing to embrace Facebook as part of their marketing strategy. Unifying this tool with a real-life relationship—with a person, place, product or plastic cow—could yield tremendous results for a savvy business owner.
The moral of the story is much bigger than St. Charles, MO. Business owners everywhere just need to take the leap into social media, on their own or with agency help, and give it an honest chance. No matter if you’re in New York City or in a farm town, members of your community are on Facebook!
(Jenn used to work here. We thought her insights were spot on, so we decided to keep her post “live”. Hi Jenn!)
I was definitely excited at the response to my first Favorite Tweets (and Blog Posts) post and have taken some of the things that I wish I could have done better, or differently, into account this time around. This is a fun opportunity to try some different things with the Scorch blog and to use that trial-and-error to further develop the format of this post series.
Ironically, the best feedback that I received on the initial post was via Facebook, about a week later.
Well Allison, I have taken part of your advice for now. This installment includes some of my favorite tweets and blog posts, by people other than just social media folks, and is geared more around great uses of the protocol(s) for starting the conversation. Any conversation that is!
[note: The word "touché" is not being correctly displayed in the above tweet. Thank you Blackbird Pie]
I’ll admit, I was most definitely baiting Nadoz Café to figure out a way to respond to the gauntlet that I had publicly thrown down. In my mind I was going to see 1 of 3 possible “reactions”.
- They wouldn’t respond to the bait.
- They’d go all Nestle on me.
- They’d come back with something either witty, creative or both.
In all honesty, Nadoz Café far exceeded my expectations and came back with something not only witty and creative, but also quite worthy of me publicizing via word-of-mouth, social media and now this blog post. This is a fantastic example of a small business using social media to create empowered, and localized, advocates of their brand. And the other very important thing to realize here is that I haven’t even been in to eat their food yet and I’m already evangelizing how impressed I am with them. Thank you Nadoz for showing me the person(s) behind the curtain and responding to my bait like a real person would. I will be in very soon to claim my waffle.
A quick post by Arnold Zafra at the Search Engine Journal documenting a cool and inexpensive new way to get yours, or your clients’, businesses to stand out in search.
If you’re running a local business and you have placed listings on Google.com or Google Maps, you can enhance your listing with yellow tag emphasizing specific information about your business such as coupon, video, website, menu, reservations, photos and even custom messages. Getting this yellow tag to appear on your Google listings is not free though. You would have to pay a flat monthly fee of $25. The tags will not affect your listings’ rank and Google will clearly indicated which parts of the search results are sponsored when you’re local business is displayed.
A lengthy article by Sindya N. Bhanoo at The New York Times that goes in-depth into the growing trend of businesses making a concerted effort to incorporate sustainability into their products. Great read!
As the world’s greatest soccer players take to the fields at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, many are wearing jerseys made almost entirely from plastic bottles rescued from landfills in Japan and Taiwan.
This blog entry from B.E.L.T. really hits home for me. As a fellow Cherokee Street resident, I’ve frequented Globe Drugs for awhile now. It is really sad to see it go as it was one of the few remaining landmarks on Cherokee still in operation.
The Cherokee Street News broke the news that the venerable Globe Drug store had closed its doors, and got the sentiment right in the headline: 1939-2010. It does feel like a friend has died.
Do I really have to tell you how cool this is? I need one of these for my desk!
Spoke Marketing is doing the St. Louis marketing community proud with their Sprockets Program. As someone who has helped coach and place interns before, I have had to have the conversation many times about paying ones dues. The analogy I often use is that if a you pass an empty coffee pot, it doesn’t matter if you are the gopher or the owner, you start a fresh pot. That said, interns are all too often abused and treated as if they are only worthy of scrubbing the toilet. The rule of thumb should be that if the owner of the company isn’t willing to do the work, then it isn’t fair to make an intern do it either.
The goal of Sprockets is to solve these two problems by letting our interns work on pro bono projects for nonprofits, and early stage start-ups. The clients get free marketing help, and the interns get a meaningful experience, a portfolio, and case studies to show future employers.
Don’t worry…we don’t just throw our interns to the wolves. We work with them on each of the projects, point them in the right direction, ask the right questions, and help them make the right decisions. But, at the end of the day (summer), the decisions are theirs, the work is theirs, and the success is theirs.
They might learn that they hate marketing, and that they should go to dental school. But at least they won’t learn it basking in the glow of a copy machine.
Well done guys. This is a great program.
(7) “Dear Honda Lawnmower” via @amveats
Schlafly Summer Lager now comes in a can. That’s all you need to know.
If you want to get your tweet featured here A) follow me and B) write better tweets! As always, your feedback is much appreciated. Until next week…
With my preferred, and most used, Twitter client being Tweetie 2 (I kind of refuse to call it Twitter for iPhone), I actually do most of my personal and business tweeting with two thumbs.
And due to the small size of the screen, and an even smaller amount of patience for 3G, I frequently just mark tweets as “favorites” so that I can read them later on my laptop. Being that I now find myself with hundreds of favorites on Twitter, I thought that each week it would be good to compile a few of the ones that were actually worth reading, once I finally got around to them.
And so the story goes…
A well written article by David Carr in The New York Times about the use of popular and seemingly unrelated search terms in web headlines to boost blog traffic.
People who worry that Web headlines dumb down public discourse are probably right. But some of the classics would still work. Remember “Headless Body in Topless Bar,” perhaps the most memorable New York Post headline ever? It’s direct, it’s descriptive, and it’s oh-so-search-engine-friendly.
(2) “Facebook Advertising: 10 Laws Every Marketer Needs To Know” via @lisackeller
Fantastic insights from Nick O’Neill at All Facebook on how to advertise on Facebook effectively.
If you’ve come to Facebook looking for instantaneous sales than you’ve come to the wrong place. Facebook presents businesses with the opportunity to reach their target market throughout the entire marketing cycle. While a small percentage of users are ready to purchase while they’re browsing Facebook, a much larger percentage of users are going to make a purchase in the future if not now.
A solid and comprehensive list of ways to blog better by Jeff Bullas. While obviously there are some no brainers on here, the fact that they are all in one compilation is pretty awesome.
3. Customer’s Pain Points – Write posts that provide solutions for your customers problems
4. Customer’s successes – Write up a case study about a clients successful project, they will often let you publish their name
5. What not to do – highlighting where something hasn’t worked (the names shall remain anonymous of course)
6. Create a video blog post by interviewing a successful client – this can a powerful providing authentic evidence of authority and credibility for both you and the client
(4) “Social CRM is Just the Beginning: Looking Beyond Customers” via @briansolis
It’s no secret that Brian Solis is a social media visionary and this post is yet another gem. Oh, and I very much appreciate his relentless use of infographics!
Customer service, combined with participation and engagement, forms a powerful foundation of marketing without blatant marketing. And, as the socialization of our business is introduced through open leadership, engagement brings into focus the fifth “P” of the marketing mix – people.
An interesting new tool to help you manage your Twitter followers. Will need to play with this a little more to see if it will actually prove useful, but I am always in search of applications help maintain the integrity of our clients’ Twitter networks.
Q. What does Twit Cleaner do?
A. It analyses the profiles & tweets of every single person that you follow, looking for certain patterns of behaviour (people not talking, being over repetitive, common spam tactics, posting the same links repeatedly, etc).
It’s then up to you to decide who to save & who to unfollow.
I would love to hear how others are using the Twitter favorites function. To me, it is the perfect way to bookmark those useful, funny or cool tweets that you either don’t want to forget or simply can’t fully enjoy right at the moment.