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April 23, 2008

Evangelist – The Marketer’s Role in SMM

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Danny is once again here moderating with speakers David Berkowitz (360i), Rob Key (Converseon) and Adam Sherk (Define Search Strategies). Please note that at first I thought it say Adam worked for Shrek. Bummer.

Up first is Rob Key.

Social media has risen as community becomes the center of the Web experience. There are dozens of communities – blogs, RSS, wikis, etc.

The Rise of New Tribalism

Offline we speak the same language and listen to the same music. But in the online environment, this is changing.

Mass media, shared experiences and language is the glue that holds together a society. Through culture, people can adapt to their environment in non-genetic ways, so people living in different environments will often have different cultures. While cultural theory has been largely applied to the offline world, the growth of online communities puts a new twist on the concept.

As communities diversify, new cultures and languages emerge. Key drivers of culture and language speciation:

  • Isolation
  • Group membership
  • Time
  • Migration
  • Technology discover

Words die out and new words emerge. It’s the concept of neologism. Then there’s that text language that no one understands. More acronyms like kpc, fyeo, gal, etc.

When you have culture clash, it can be in a very overt way. Like Michael Rockefeller who graduated from Harvard and when to Borneo. He disappeared and later someone claimed to have found his shrunken head. Um, what?

You may have not have had your head taken off, but you may be held hostage…in Second Life. He shows avatars being held hostage in an American Apparel store in Second Life. If you’re not taken hostage, you may be ridiculed. He talks about Sony and the fake blog and videos they created. Gamers outed them because they realized the language they were using wasn’t authentic.

He talks about how Microsoft was exiled from Wikipedia when they went in and started editing pages.

We believe that as marketers and brands increasingly penetrate social media communities, backlash will grow in many venues. Driving factors, such as tagging and increasing personalization will further diversify.

Karmic Communication

The effects of all deeds actively create past, present and future experiences. Ask not what the community can do for you, but what you can do for the community.

Eight Princes of Karmic Communication (Coincidentally, at SES NY Rob called these the Principles of Effective Social Media Engagement.)

  • Listen first
  • Participate after
  • Make friends with community elders
  • Understand and respect community mores
  • Lead with altruism; come bearing gifts
  • Discover a community need
  • Learn the linguistics
  • Value and cultivate the relationships
  • Leverage appropriately, and over time.

The Second Chance Tree Reforestation Project (in Second Life)

There are 7 million registered accounts in Second Life. A study found that 72 percent of their 200 respondents said they were disappointed with real world company activities in Second Life. Just over 40 percent considered these efforts as a one-of not likely to last.
How do go into that environment as a marketer? Here’s what they did: Became active members. Understood who the elders were. Established relationships with influential early residents. Identified a theme that resonated with the community. Became a certified developer in 2007.

They’ve created 10 species of trees that have been forested in SecondLife. People can take trees and plant them in Second Life and then the same tree will be planted in real life.

The environmental community really bought into what they were doing. Second Life did as well. People started creating Flickr accounts documenting the trees they created. They dedicated the trees to people who had passed away. CNN and the Financial Times picked up the story. It also won some awards.

Adam Sherk is next.

Corporate social media marketing takes multi-department coordination. There are a lot of stakeholders involved. Who’s controlling it? Marketing and PR? The SEO team? Is IT on board? Legal gets concerned. So does Design. There are a lot of balls in the air.

Common Pitfalls:

  • No Strategy
  • Lack of support/resources
  • Poor coordination
  • Inappropriate content
  • Lack of understanding of the communities
  • Hiding your affiliation
  • Being overly promotional

Path to Success:

  • Selling upper management on the concept
  • Getting buy-in from all key departments
  • Instilling a “give to gain” philosophy
  • Finding the right people to manage the efforts
  • Giving them what they need to be effective
  • Testing
  • Oversight
  • Measuring results

Things to consider: How will you sustain your efforts over the long-term? What happens if your brand ambassador leaves the company? What about employees who have their own personal profiles? How will you deal with negative responses and reactions?

Have rules in place for appropriate behavior regarding how employees can act. Sometimes they jump into a fight to defend you and just make things worse.

Case Study: The Daily Green

The studied the behavior of “Green Diggers”. Who likes environmental content? They wrote an article about it. They also wrote an article about when the watch the lunar eclipse in the US. The article generated 3 times more page views in 2 days than the home page did the entire month.

Case Study: Good Housekeeping

Even sites you wouldn’t expect can make the front page of Digg. Good Housekeeping did a photo article on Dog Star Wars Costumes. It’s about finding content that would work on the social networking sites.

Case Study: TV Guide

Full-time brand ambassador hired to focus on regular monitoring and participation on social sites. Full transparency within communities. Network of “partner” sites developed for publicity efforts. Efforts tied into search engine optimization.

David Berkowitz is up.

He says this is the first time he’s ever Twittered during a panel. He’s not sure he recommends it but he was able to pay attention, as well. Heh.

A lot of what we’re doing is finding these brand evangelists through chat, forums, blogs, social networking, social search, virtual words, etc. The tools/assets include widgets, video, promo/contests, unique info, etc.

How can marketers create and utilize assets to successfully influence the influential and turbo-charge the social media ecosystem?

Key components for successful digital word of mouth:

  • Concepting: social media campaigns alight with marketing goals
  • Creation: Widgets, rich media, microsites
  • Communication: Digital PR, outreach to influentials across social media/networks

Blogs are the best tactic to jump start a viral campaign.

Case Study: HGTV
HGTV premiered a new TV showed aimed at environmentalists called Living with Ed. The goals were to attract a new set of viewers. Do a search for [living with ed] and it was filled with erectile dysfunction spam. Hee. They had to correct the problem.

They reached out to bloggers and influencers to bubble up a lot of their content to overtake the other ED content. Did a lot of social media work.

Six weeks later, their production site was in the number one and two spot in Google. The Cialis sites dropped to #52 and below.

When they did outreach, they were very transparent. They said it was being done by their company on behalf of HGTV.

Case Study: Heroes

NBC selected 360i to generate buzz for the return of Heroes and keep momentum from April through December. They worked across both the NBC agency, NBC.com, Universal DVD and NBC PR to identify the best digital assets for syndication, aligning with blot/site interests.

Target Audience: Influentials across TV, Entertainment, Sci-FI, Comic Books, Heros fan sites, bloggers, etc.

Assets: Digital comic books, widgets, videos, unique information, DVD, contests, etc. Many bloggers picked up ever asset pitched. Consistent assets kept blogs buzzing

Do create something worth for bloggers, find the right ones, and write them customized messages.

Question and Answer

What do you think a non profit company can do to get started in social media?

David:: Monitor what’s going on. Using things from Google to BlogPulse to TweetScan to FriendFeed to see what’s happening. Look up your brand and your issue. That right there will present some leads.

Rob: He was at a conference recently for non profits. What was successful about the Second Life Trees program was that they stayed in one community.

If you could only use one social media marketing site, what would it be?

Adam: It’s impossible to say because everything has a purpose. It depends what you want to do.

David: In 6 months to a year he’s hoping the answer will be FriendFeed. He likes how you can monitor a lot of different channels. Right now his favorite is Facebook.

Rob: He says massive multiplayer gaming is still in its infancy. He says Second Life because it allows brands to do interesting collaboration.

Danny: Facebook. He also likes LinkedIn.

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One response to “Evangelist – The Marketer’s Role in SMM”

  1. Rob Key writes:

    Thanks Lisa.



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