Wednesday, March 19, 2008

SES New York: Social Media Marketing: What is it and What is it Good for?

The session kicks off with a Wikipedia definition of social media marketing; just to make sure everyone in the audience has a basic understanding of the subject. This is a new track to SES.

I think there’s been a change of speaker. Rather than Paul Beck the Senior Partner, World Wide, Executive Director, Interactive Marketing & Advertising, Ogilvy we’ve a Mr Beland instead. He’s also from Ogilvy.


Conn Fishburn from Yahoo

Yahoo refer to the Rise of the People. When you talk about social media you have to talk about the people. Later on, Conn reminds us that the kipper app has always been people.
  • If the web were a country it would be the third largest in the world.
  • 800m people use the internet every month.
  • This figure is expected to rise by 2b by 2011.
Conn makes one of my favourite social media points; the new economy is culture.

Fishburn proffers the Nicholas Negroponte quote

If I werre to do the MIT MediaLab over again, I wouldn't make it so much about the technologies per se. I would make it more about culture, about the cultures behind any technology that adopts it, adapts it and makes it useful and interesting."

We’ve seen this before at the Igniting Viral Campaigns track. It’s a good quote to have brought to SES. It clearly has traction here.

Yahoo share their definition of social media
  • Media made by and for users in communities
  • A business model in which “our customers are our suppliers”
  • An advertising system in which people articulate their interests and passions and share marketing messages with each other
  • A new approach to solving hard problems in networked information systems (flickr)
  • Platforms, systems, and applications that connect media, technology, and people together into a processing and value-creation network
Beland from Ogilvy.

I like the part where he explains that Ogilvy stopped to debate whether social media marketing was something significant enough to include in their 360 degree view of their marketing and advertising services.

Beland shares some stats on the sources of information that people trust. The top three are:
  • Recommendations from consumers – 78%
  • Newspapers – 63%
  • Consumer opinions posted online – 61%
  • Traditional sources continue to decline.
Ogilvy notes how like minded people in similar situations tend to cluster together. Beland shares some social media strategy steps.
  • Listening as a disciplined marketing practice
    1. Passive listening (who, what when where and to whom – why?)
    2. Active listening = engagement (transparency, commitment, context/value proposition)
  • Advocacy as a deliberate marketing channel
    1. Measure, impact and activate audience’s propensity to recommend the brand
  • Unlock and unleash content for wider distribution
    1. Earned media to accompany paid plans – enable and encourage audience to share content
Jory Des Jardins from BlogHer

Jory tackles brands’ fear of social media head on. A brand’s biggest fear is often that if they engage in the social media sphere that people may say something negative.

We have the Review Myth;
“If I release my brand to the blogosphere, all hell will break loose. One nasty thing said about my product and poof – I’ve committed brandicide”

Jory illustrates how this is the wrong mindset. Avoidance is not a valid strategy. She notes that it is not always about what the bloggers are saying – it’s that they are talking about it. Just by being discussed by bloggers brands can build up a buzz about their products.

Bloggers have credibility issues too, sometimes, she notes.

Brands will tend to get credit for trying to connect with bloggers. The BlogHer recommended approach is a no strings approach. Don’t give books to bloggers, for example, and insist that they write a positive review in exchange – or even that they write a review. Simply give the bloggers a copy of the book and see what happens – if you’ve picked the right bloggers then you’ll get some reviews.

Finally, Des Jardins suggests that if ‘touchy feely’ isn’t in your DNA that you engage in the social media landscape in a defensive way.

Chris Winfield from 10e20

Wow. Chris has some cracking PowerPoint templates! So sexy. If you read the 10e20 blog then this won’t come as a surprise to you!

Chris is here to take the audience through the basics of social bookmarking and share some case studies. He’s had some cracking success in driving tens of thousands of hits to his clients.

No surprises as to Chris’ top three recommendations;
  • Delicious
  • Stumble Upon
  • Digg
Don Steele from Comedy Central

Don starts by checking with the audience that everyone’s heard of Comedy Central. For a second I toy with playing the dumb foreigner card and denying I’ve heard of them (for that matter; MTV? Who are they?). Fortunately my common sense wins that debate and I maintain my silence.

A key part of Comedy Central’s social media strategy is to ensure that fans have their environments. They have a very savvy audience and Don notes that, “Our audience lives online so we must understand how and where to speak with them”

The four tenants of Comedy Central’s digital media planning are:
  • Discoverable
  • Branded
  • Portable
  • Smart
Amusingly Steele briefly discusses the death of the media plan and lists all the sites (like the Daily Kos) where the Comedy Central sometimes buys Display Advertising. Next slide; the Social Media Plan – and it is all the same people. Phew. The ‘media plan’ is saved!

A key take away for me is that Comedy Central is atomic enough to buy media and plan social media on sites where ad buyers who might be interested in purchasing inventory from them. For example; the Comedy Central buys ads on Perez Hilton because that’s a blog which interests ad buyers.

Steele ends with a social media algorithm:
CC Programming + (On Advertising + Search) * Social Media Efforts = Smart Digital Strategy

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