Breaking Down the Tao of Social Media Marketing with Mark Schaefer

August 20, 2014 by

Two years ago, I was a first year graduate student looking to find a sense of professional purpose. With four classes completed, I decided to make the journey to Morgantown, WV to attend the annual INTEGRATE conference. Any obstacles that stood out in my mind to get there were outweighed by the knowledge I gained when I departed. One presentation, in particular, still stands out in my mind as being a pivotal moment in my journey to finding my professional return on influence.

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WVU Alum, Mark Schaefer took to the stage at INTEGRATE on June 2, 2012  to present key points from his book Return On Influence. With a Klout score of 75, Mark knows more than a thing or two about social media, blogging, and marketing. In addition to his successful Businesses Grow blog, Mark is an accomplished author. His widely popular book The Tao of Twitter has received high praise as being a  #1 Best Selling Book On Twitter.  In the past two years since the book was first released Twitter has drastically changed so much so that Mark revised and expanded The Tao of Twitter. 

If you have not seen Mark’s presentation, I highly suggest watching it before reading the questions and answers presented below.

Mark was gracious enough to answer a few questions I had in regards to what has changed in the Twitterverse, best practices for live tweeting along with the realities of social media marketing.

Return On Influence: The New Realities of Power and Marketing on the Internet

Long: At the WVU INTEGRATE 2012 conference, you highlighted key points from your book Return On Influence. Two years later, have the realities of power and marketing on the internet changed, or have they stayed the same?

Schaefer: I would say that everything I talked about indeed has come true, perhaps even more rapidly than I could have imagined. Big agencies and small are creating influence marketing departments. Being an influencer is becoming increasingly lucrative (even I am starting to make some money in this area!). And new measurement platforms are emerging.

I think the dynamics of acquiring power that I talked about in my book and my speech are the same. Yes. I called that one correctly! : )

Long: For graduate students starting to provide social media consultation services, what advice can you offer?

Schaefer: The biggest mistake I see is the people enter this space without any real marketing experience. Before you go out on your own, get a marketing job and learn about the broad spectrum of activities before focusing on social media. If you are a social media “hammer” and everything is a nail, you would be doing a disservice to both youself and your customers.

I also think an exposure to statistics is a must. You don’t have to be an expert, but increasingly, marketing insight is coming from big data and math. You need to know enough about it to ask the right questions.

If you are going to go out on your own, be prepared to be broke for two years. Build your personal brand through blogging, videos and public speaking.

Long: With the rise of live event tweeting, what best practices should both presenters and attendees be putting into practice?
Schaefer: For presenters, be sure to include your Twitter handle and the event hashtag on all your slides. Embed tweetable moments [– short key points — on slides to make it easy for the reporters. Don’t go too fast and make your slides available after the event.

For reporters, don’t get so involved in the tweeting that you miss the presentation. Proof read everything before you tweet. Remember that a tweet has the same legal weight as a blog post or other online article so you need to be fair and accurate. If the speaker says something controversial or inflammatory, remember that you might be held legally accountable as the person sending out the tweet.

Long: If you could only follow ten people on Twitter who would make it onto your feed?

Schaefer: If I could only follow 10 people, they would all be my customers. Twitter is an amazing opportunity for marketing insight, and I would not want to miss a thing!

Long: You recently revised your widely popular book The Tao of Twitter. How has Twitter changed in the 2 years since the book was first released? 

Schaefer: So much has changed in the Twitterverse since I wrote the first edition. In fact, I really had to consider whether Twitter is still the hub of human connection it was when I fell in love with it many years ago. Does Twitter still have a heart or is it just another broadcast channel?

Specifically, there have been four powerful new developments driving Twitter:

• Twitter has experienced explosive growth, finding new audiences among younger and older users as well as new fans globally and corporations. Twitter is being used in so many creative new ways we could not have imagined just a few years ago.

• It has matured into a public company with a responsibility to shareholders. This has altered its strategy and how it relates to its customers and fans.

• Twitter has developed innovative advertising programs that are accessible to businesses with nearly any budget. But many businesses don’t understand the unique features of these programs.

• Twitter has become the de facto “second screen” for television, providing the channel of interactivity for live programming. This is a role that is now driving many of its strategies. It has also driven the hashtag (#) into our everyday culture!

Make sure to follow Mark to keep up with his latest endeavors in the social media field.

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Linked In
Twitter

If you have read one of his books, let me know what was the biggest lesson that you were able to realize out in the social media field?

 

Adding a Little Something Extra to the IMC Plan

August 7, 2014 by

Shortly after I finished the intro. class I began putting together a plan so that departments at work could create marketing plans and start measuring results. I thought it would be a great way to help justify departmental money spent on marketing, help jusitfy the overall budget for the Graphics & Marketing office, and be a great learning experience for the students. It all sounds great, right?

The back-story

I should clarify that the department I’m in works with 10 marketing plans on a yearly basis and that marketing plans stemmed from the branding project, which was a very challenging experience for our staff. I wanted to use the marketing plans as a way to get buy-in and have departments feel like they owned their marketing efforts. The office I’m in did a lot of marketing “on behalf of departments” but not a lot was being done to measure those efforts.

The process was a year in the making. The staff and I spent countless hours teaching and working with departments so they would understand marketing and how to measure it. The roadblock that I ran into (and is one of the most challenging areas for many marketing professionals) was how to get people invested. As I said, countless hours went into education and preparation so the staff felt like these were goals they wanted to achieve, but we were still having trouble with buy-in.

An attempt at buy-in

What I failed to realize is that I continually called the goals “marketing goals.” I had spent years getting departments to use the graphics & marketing office, so “marketing goals” meant “the marketing department.” It was challenging to get ownership and help departments keep track of their goals. I often heard, “Just tell me what you want me to write so we can finish this.”

As a result, we’ve made many changes to the marketing plans.

  1. We don’t call them “marketing goals.” We talk to departments and say that we want to work with them on their departmental goals that marketing helps them achieve. It’s a small change, but it helps them feel ownership of the goals they select. They’re not just thinking about Web site traffic, but sales and attendance numbers.
  2. We’ve added a small chart to the marketing plans that allows departments to keep track of their progress throughout the semester. This way, departments know where they stand and how close they are to achieving their goals. There are four check-in meetings a year and departments will bring their numbers to the meetings with them. Again, a small change, but putting their progress into the plan helped them keep track of everything.   We noticed that spreadsheets were created to monitor the goals, but after the first check in or two they were missing in action. Additionally, they didn’t have to contact us to get progress updates.
  3. This year we’re only updating the plans once. In the first year of implementation there were a lot of changes to the marketing plans (and because I want to make sure they’re pretty, we create them in InDesign, which means only the marketing department can update them). However, with a full year of putting the plans together and a full year of implementation, the plans are designed as fillable .pdf documents that departments will have and be able to update four times a year.

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These three tips are small, but have made a difference in our organization. What we are doing is always a work in progress, but each year we make changes and get closer to finding what will work for our organization. In a few weeks we will have an infograph of the goals we’ve achieved and I will share it when it’s ready. If you’re interested in seeing how this was developed for a student union on a college campus, check out the materials on my Web site.

Have you added anything to your marketing plans to keep you on track? What has worked well?

Realize Your Dream Year by Turning Your Passion into Profit

August 4, 2014 by

You should focus at least an hour a day on the gift that you were put on this earth to fulfill.

Stop waiting for the moment.

Nobody is going to care about your dream unless you care more.

Establish you voice.

Partner with key influencers.

Ask for help.

Hire a professional designer.

Start marketing your dream.

Grow your business.

Turn your passion into profit.

Repeat steps if necessary. 

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book-cover

After reading Ben Arment’s book Dream Year, I have concluded that only ten steps are separating you from realizing your dream.

What is separating you from your dream is your excuse list.

Do not let fear take up precious space in your mind.

Put down the remote.

Trim down your social calendar.

Take the shot that will transform your life.

Wayne Gretzky famously stated, “You Miss 100% of The Shots You Don’t Take.”

To kickstart your dream year, I am going to be moderating a Tweet chat on August 5th at 1PM EST. Please use the hashtag #dreamyear to join the conversation.

If you are looking for a tangible resource that will help you take the first step forward, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Ben Arment’s Dream Year. To learn more, visit http://dreamyear.net.

Origami Storks.

August 4, 2014 by

Johnson & Johnson wants millennial moms- and all parents- to know the company promises to remove controversial ingredients from its products.

To be shared primarily through social media, the message first took flight in Johnson & Johnson’s “Our Promise” video. In the video, the company responds to consumer concern by showing company employees writing their promises on small pieces of paper to be folded into origami storks. A Japanese legend holding that origami birds signify “a hope granted and a promise fulfilled” is what inspired the approach.

Johnson & Johnson’s origami birds represent the company’s new promise to consumers.

As part of the campaign, expect the release of more than 40 videos featuring educational messaging as well as humorous content.

Johnson & Johnson’s storks carry a message. The question is, will the target market receive it?

-R

 

Is being a verb a good thing?

July 28, 2014 by

Fifteen years ago you couldn’t “google” anything, you used facial tissue and lip balm, you photocopied your paperwork, you put a bandage on your boo boos, and you digitally altered photos to reduce red eye and crop out your exes.  You definitely didn’t use Kleenex and Chapstick, Xerox anything, wear a Band-Aid, and Photoshop your new headshot.

So, when did these products become (what some are calling) verbified or treated as common nouns and is it a good thing?

I want you to think, as a marketer, do you want your company name to become a verb or common noun?  Some think that is the highest honor bestowed on a brand.  Why wouldn’t they? Your company name is so integrated into the social culture that it is synonymous with the product you are selling.  Millions of people say your company name everyday.  Great marketing, right?  Well…it might not be everything it’s cracked up to be.  For example, it pushes a company to be a bit more strategic with their efforts.  Imagine your company is synonymous with a certain product and then you want to expand your product offerings.  You must now decide if you would like to utilize the current brand image of the products you’ve been selling in order to push the new product, or create a new product line under a different name.  When Clorox picked up Hidden Valley they didn’t want their company associated with ranch dressing, so they kept the name Hidden Valley.  Can you imagine the public reaction with an ad campaign selling “New Ranch Dressing by Clorox.” Yikes.

When product names become common nouns or verbs it leads to genericide, which is a nightmare for the legal department.  Essentially, it puts your product name into a position where it no longer has any legal or trademark protection.  Now, the product concept, imaging, and name that you’ve worked so hard to develop has no legal standing.  Trademark expert at Georgetown University, Rebecca Tushnet, said the risk of genericide is so low, the benefits outweigh the risk.  Is that a risk that you are willing to take?

Perhaps one of the most apparent verbified companies is Google.  How do they feel about it?  They might not be in love with the idea of Google becoming synonymous with searching the internet.  According to the New York Times, they have created wording on their policy page that says “Google” is not to be used as a noun or verb, only as a adjective.  They prefer you say “Google Search Engine.”  However, dictionary.com defines Google as “searching the internet for information.” So you can google without using Google.

What do you think?  Is it in a company’s best interest to become a common noun or become verbified?  Is it the highest honor, or a detriment to a company’s brand image?

Build Your Influence With Micro-Content

July 14, 2014 by

I finally joined the Twittersphere (@Julie_Long_)! In my short time on the platform, I have complained to a brand, participated in my first tweet session, and most importantly followed others. As I continue to learn and navigate the intricacies of tweeting, I am reminded by the fleeting nature of communication. With just 140 characters at your disposal you have to tweet succinctly. Less is truly more. What I have found to be both an opportunity and a curse is that Twitter forces you to think differently about how to construct a call to action. The idea of finite content is not a new idea by an means. The gray area surrounds the integration of content across channels. Everyone can tweet and tell a story, but only those who truly understand integration will be able to realize a return.

One person that seems to understand finite content is Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of Vaynermedia, who is a proponent of “micro-content.” The micro-content revolution might just be around the corner. Thankfully, I joined Twitter, which affords me the opportunity to “micro-blog.”  Being able to build campaigns around the “micro” and the “macro” point of view will help to make me a diversified IMC practitioner.

Not only do you need the writing and strategic mind to master the art of micro-content, but you also need the confidence. Fortunately, thanks to Twitter, I learned about a free webinar that will help you build your online confidence.

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Make sure that you sign up! Gary Vaynerchuk just happens to be one of the presenters and you will be a first hand witness to his dynamic presentation style!

Absolut Advertising.

July 7, 2014 by

Yet another book calls my coffee table home. Welcome to the family, Absolut Book.

Ever since Bill Oechsler mentioned the rich history behind the award-winning Absolut Vodka advertising campaign during his “Creative Strategist | Strategic Creative” session at Integrate 2014, I’ve been tempted to add the book to my Amazon cart.

I finally caved. And I’m glad I did.

Absolut Book. is a visual reminder of how well-executed, simple ideas can endure. The campaign’s nods to cities and film are just some of many creative Absolut applications. Cultural references communicated through an essentially three-formula ad consisting of bottle+Absolut+[other term] seem endless.

rome

I appreciate brands that consider their audiences smart enough to connect the dots in ads- i.e., a Vespa-disguised vodka bottle…

chicago

This one took a few seconds to grasp- something the Absolut Vodka creative team worried about when they designed the ad.

rosebud

Citizen Kane fans, rejoice.

 

Want a look at some of the ads that never hit print? This book has some of those “Absolut rejects,” too. As the author explains, there are a variety of reasons such ads haven’t received approval.*

When do campaigns reach the point when they become cultural fixtures in their own right? And does anyone else miss Integrate?!

-R

*I’ll let you discover those when you read the book!

On a World Stage

July 3, 2014 by

My siblings and I grew up playing soccer. For us, every weekend was packed with tournaments and practices.  I was probably the least athletically inclined one out of the three of us, but I always found immense joy watching or playing soccer.  For me, the 2014 FIFA World Cup is no different.

The FIFA World Cup is a totally unique experience, especially for Americans. First, the United States is an underdog, which provides a new perspective. Second, with the exception of the Olympics, where else can you find an event that caters to the world’s population? Soccer players leave their club teams behind and compete against team members to honor their country. It is simply an amazing event.

The 2014 World Cup has garnered a great deal of social media popularity, with CNN saying that it is becoming the biggest social media event in history.  So far, 90% of the world has been engaged in these social media conversations.  Soccer superstars have taken to Twitter to promote the event and garner media attention.  Cristiano Ronaldo, the second highest paid athlete in the world, comes in at number one in The Top 15 Social Networking Superstars of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It doesn’t stop with just athletes.  Teams are creating hashtags for individual games so those that cannot watch the event live can be kept update on the action.  The United States Men’s National Team coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, wrote fans a “get out of work” note to show support for the USMNT, which has appeared on Facebook and other social sites.  (In my opinion it was well deserved after the comments he made about the team prior to their first game.)  The USMNT is taking a page from the marketing playbook and has gone to great lengths to unite the US fans by telling stores of all 23 USMNT players on their YouTube channel.  So far, the use of  social media has spread far and wide, but the strategies of each platform have (so far) been very thought out.  The graphics and storylines for each area fit the medium, but are always reinforcing the overall message of  “One Nation. One Team”.  I always find it disappointing when you see regurgitated information across multiple platforms that doesn’t fit the language or context of the platform.  So far, IMC plan for the 2014 FIFA World Cup has appeared effective and very well thought out.

Media and social media presence around the World Cup has been amazing, but the World Cup provides unique challenges for marketers.  The first issue lies with the very thing that makes the World Cup so successful.  The World Cup is a world event, which makes advertising space much for valuable.  Additionally, there are no commercial breaks during the halves.  Each half is 45 minutes of continual play, which means there is only ad time before the event, after the event, and during half time.  With the events in Brazil this year, there have been water breaks added to games at the discretion of the referee when it is warmer than 86 degrees F.  The trouble with banking on ad space during this time is that it is not guaranteed.  So, much of the advertising time is eaten up by official sponsors and companies with a budget large enough to get in the game.

Even with limited ad space in the World Cup and a small advertising budget, Puma has figured out how to get attention without sacrificing their entire ad budget.  If you’ve watched the World Cup you may have seen several players with mismatched, surprisingly colored shoes.  Puma has released Tricks – a pair of one pink and one blue shoe.  They’re very noticeable on the feet of several world-level athletes such as Mario Balotelli and Yaya Touré.  The shoes have many advantages, but the largest one being the media attention they’re getting during the World Cup without paying for the ad space.  Viewers can look at the shoes for a minimum of 90 minutes and Puma’s ad budget is saved for advertising after the World Cup, closer to the back-to-school time frame.

The infographic below was released in early June, but provides a great starting point for an analytic look at the World Cup so far.

Offerpop’s World Cup Infographic:

World Cup Infographic

A sporting event at this level has many advantages and disadvantages for marketers.  The world attention placed on the games have provided viewers with a rich and diverse social media and advertising experience without sacrificing the integrity of the sport.  Even if you’re a marketer, but not a soccer fan you can appreciate the experience.

What have been some of your favorite 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament moments on or off the field?

There’s Adobe in my Instagram.

June 30, 2014 by

adobe

I never realize the boundaries we set for technology until they are crossed.

Adobe’s new mobile devices software development kit allowing for third-party developers to embed select Adobe technologies into their iOS apps could translate to popular creative apps like Instagram.

As Adobe has not yet announced who it is partnering with to develop these apps, expect even more surprises from the company.

What Adobe-platform partnerships would you most like to see?

-R

A Little Advice from Scott Stratten

June 30, 2014 by
One of my first blog posts for the IMC program at WVU was a gentle demand that you listen to the UnPodcast.  Hosts Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer provided a no holds barred approach to marketing.  Having been a fan of their work for a while, I was ecstatic that I would have the opportunity to meet them at ImComm (a marketing conference for the UW System) at which Scott was speaking.  I was thrilled the committee booked him because I felt this audience could really benefit from his message delivered in a very honest and blunt way…and I was right.  As usual, the content had the audience laughing out loud and questioning their marketing tactics in minutes.

ScottStratten

Scott was nice enough to answer a few questions after the presentation.  I racked my brain for days to try to come up with something to ask him.  So, with the knowledge that we are dedicating our lives to IMC and trying to sell it to our employers, I asked the same question I’ve asked 100 times to every IMC professional I’ve ever met.  I asked, “What does it take to get buy-in?”  Scott communicated the importance of finding what motivates people and connecting your selling points to what is important to them. There are no shortage of personality and character tests that are quick to put us into boxes and provide us with a precise bullet point list of tactics for working with each other.  “Personality type Q will best respond to charts, graphs, and 100 page documents outlining all possible solutions.”  Each test has their place, but are we really invested in finding out how to build relationships with our coworkers?  Knowing that many of my friends and coworkers had tried this tactic before I finally asked, “what it if it still doesn’t work?”  To which I received the very honest answer of “get out”….run.

 

If that last line scares you….good.  I always hoped that would never be an option, but for some companies it is never going to happen – and you can’t waste your time and energy.  The uphill battle to sell all of the right people on IMC might not be successful in your organization.  There are some people that will never buy in.  If that’s not something you can live with, you may need to get out. It’s tough to identify the companies that are receptive to IMC, but thanks to great advice by Elliott Nix, we at least have a place to start.

 

I also asked Scott what was important for us as IMC students to know.  He said, “Never stop asking why.  The reason we can’t do things the way they’ve always been done is because we’re dealing with things we haven’t had to deal with before.”  For me, this was an enormous take away from the conference.  We’ve all run head first into the “this is the way it’s always been done” road block, but Scott is right – the issues and challenges we are facing today are different than issues we’ve faced in the past. (Another great conference quote from a different speaker was, “You don’t have time to plan because you’re not planning,” which I thought was perfectly stated.)

 

IMC is not an easy thing to initiate at any company.  It is frustrating and, at least for me, can make you feel crazy at times.  The conference reminded me that we can make a difference, it just takes strategy and patience.  There will be times where the company culture and IMC just don’t mix and we have to move on.  That’s not to say it will never work for that company, but maybe just not right now.  It’s ok for IMC professionals to pick a different battle.  I’ve made it my personal goal to try to ask “why” at least once a day.

 

Are you asking why? What great “why” stories do you have to share?

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