Salesforce.com major product update: all-in-one ‘Social Studio’ platform

Salesforce.com has launched a new social content marketing, engagement, publishing and analytics platform. Called Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio, it’s part of Salesforce’s ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, and the cost for brands starts at $1500 per month.

Social Studio is intended to be a single platform for social content marketing, engagement, publishing and analytics, built for enterprise scale, with special care placed on ease of use, according to the company.

The main benefits to marketers of the new platform, according to Salesforce.com, are:

  • Workspaces: “Set-up and configure workspaces to organise teams quickly and easily by region, brand, or business function to power elegant collaboration structures dedicated to a similar purpose, for campaign collaboration, content creation and publishing.”
  • Collaborative calendars: “Manage all future and past content with an intuitive and fully featured planning and scheduling tools designed for teams. Content calendars are interactive, scalable, and can filter views by all post metadata, including label, author, status and social account.”
  • Publishing: “Create and schedule content for global networks including Facebook and Twitter with an intelligent network centric platform, beyond a simple text entry tool. Compose content, specific to each network to deliver an unmatched experience. Marketers can confidently compose content, and preview prior to going live.”
  • Integrated engagement: “Monitor and respond directly across global social networks with unmatched simplicity. Ensure active engagement pre, during and post campaign – and align engagement objectives, teams and permissions with other content goals. Use macros – automation for classifying, reporting and routing content – and workflow to scale engagement.”
  • Enhanced analytics: “Monitor how content is performing, what is performing best, and view the analytics of a particular post or a subgroup of posts by label, campaigns, or any particular target.”

 

Marketing from the future: next practice versus best practice

Earlier this month, ExactTarget (disclosure: my employer) ran a ‘Future of Marketing’ tour across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. As the tour wrapped up, a thought crossed my mind: while looking to the future is a wise and necessary idea, it doesn’t mean you should ignore everything you’ve done up until this point to grow your client base.

For example, there are established best practices for everything from social media marketing to email marketing to mobile marketing, and though these may change over time, they’ve remained reliable long enough to become a consistent part of many marketing life cycles.

In short, it’s important to weed out the useless or out-dated marketing techniques, but make sure you don’t uproot the future flowers from your garden in the meantime.

 

Casting off the crutch

An issue arises, however, when these best practices become a crutch, or something marketers fall back on when they no longer have any fresh ideas. Fortunately, there are a few methods you can employ to identify which ‘best practices’ are still working and which you are using simply because they’re easy.

Assemble a list of all of your best practices, those marketing methods you use time and again because you feel they are helping you grow your strategies and client base. While examining this list, ask yourself and your team if these methods are still working, or if they’ve just become ‘best practice’ because you’re used to doing them. For this step of the process, it may be best to call in some fresh eyes – perhaps by asking junior members of the marketing team for their input, or even reaching out to your email marketing recipients with a survey asking about how they use and view your marketing techniques.

There are certain tools you can use to determine whether your techniques have gone stale. For example, tools that allow you to track and analyse your social campaigns, meaning you’ll be able to gauge whether the techniques you’re currently using are actually having an impact.

Once this is done, you can begin to streamline your marketing lifecycle, weeding out those ‘crutches’ and finding a new strategy that can stand on its own two feet.

 

Now the tricky part

There are easy ways to eliminate unnecessary practices – the hard part is creating new ideas that are ahead of the curve. There’s no marketing crystal ball to gaze into, so how can you predict what “next practices” will work for your lifecycle needs?

For one, you can take a look at the ‘best practices’ you cast aside when streamlining your strategy. Was there a pattern or any similarities amongst these old techniques? Look at these old practices as ‘problems’ – they weren’t working for one reason or another. Why? Answering this question can make it easier to come up with marketing practices that will act as solutions to fill in the gaps.

On top of this, it’s a wise move to align yourself with other forward thinkers in the marketing world, even if this means reaching out to your own competition. You will want to be able to gauge where marketing is going in general, and you can’t do this if you’re acting as a fortified island in a sea of innovation. Instead, lower your barriers and take a hard look at what other companies in your industry are doing. Allow your colleagues and competition to be your divining rod when it comes to finding innovative ways to reach customers.

 

Twitter tweets, Wall Street awaits

In a move that has shocked, well, no one, Twitter has announced it has submitted an S-1 to the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US for a planned initial public offering.

Twitter was able to file in secret as the US JOBS Act allows for companies with less than $1 billion in annual gross revenue to file confidentially.

Nextweb.com is reporting Goldman Sachs is believed to be the lead underwriter for the deal, and Twitter will reportedly list on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company has been valued at roughly US$10.5 billion, up from an estimate of  $9.8 billion earlier this year. Twitter, now in its seventh year, has raised over $1.16 billion in funding to date.

Twitter made the announcement via itself yesterday:

We’ve confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO. This Tweet does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale.

— Twitter (@twitter) September 12, 2013

 

But then demonstrated it was still business as usual soon after:

 

Social ROI part 5: What’s next?

In this instalment of our series on measuring the return on your social media marketing efforts, Mark Cameron wraps up the series and gazes ahead. In case you missed them, you can still catch up with Parts OneTwoThree and Four.


Over the course of this social media ROI series, we have moved from theory and strategy to the practical implementation of a social media plan. We looked at metrics and measurements in Part One, discussed the art of growing your community in Part Two and developed real world guidelines for the different social media platforms in Part Three. The fourth and most recent article in the series examined the utilisation of social media data for lead nurturing and conversion. In this final article, we will look at where social media marketing is heading and discuss why your company should be prepared to capitalise on this rapidly- evolving space.

Before gazing too far ahead, one needs to understand that social media has forever changed the market and, as a result, the advertising industry is in the middle of major disruption. The thematic trend in these types of articles is backed up by an Econsultancy report, which shows that 71% of businesses worldwide are planning on increasing their spend on digital marketing this year.

What’s going on? Why is the marketing industry increasingly going digital? In Part One of this series, I referred to an article titled ‘Marketing is dead’, published on the Harvard Business Review website in August 2012, which can again provide further insight. It cited research showing that 73% of CEOs think that, “CMOs lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient business growth,” and 77% of the same CEOs have, “had it with all the talk about brand equity that can’t be linked to actual firm equity or any other recognised financial metric”.

These damning statistics suggest that in the current post-GFC world, the traditional ‘soft’ metrics so often used to justify marketing spend are failing to deliver. Business leaders want each dollar spent on marketing linked directly back to sales figures. The need for accountability is part of the attraction of digital marketing. Every activity can be measured, in real time, down to a single click.

A far more important factor is consumers driving real change in the market, forcing brands to interact in new ways. Social media and the consumption of content through digital channels has now reached near ubiquity. While this will not spell the end of TV, radio and newspapers, digital is capturing an increasingly larger proportion of market share. Today’s consumer is sophisticated. When she wants something, she wants it personalised and she wants it right away.Only the online environment can meet these kinds of demands.

Additionally, businesses are looking to invest in new talents and people experienced in the digital field. The majority of businesses do not have the skills required to keep up with the pace of change. An IBM study, ‘Fast Track to the Future: the 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report’, found that across four technology areas – mobile, business analytics, cloud and social business – only one in 10 organisations had all the skills it needed.

Within each area, roughly one-quarter reported major skill gaps and 60% or more reported moderate to major shortfalls. An integrated approach to digital marketing would address all of these areas, so it makes sense to invest wisely.

With all of this budget upheaval, the one thing we can be sure of is that the marketing industry is undergoing a transformation. When it emerges from this phase it will be permanently altered – and this is a really big deal.

As the famous management author Peter Drucker once said, “Business has only two basic functions: marketing and innovation.” Digital communication gives the brands of today the ability to address both of these functions at once. But it is going to take a drastically different approach to digital marketing to do this effectively. Banner ads and landing pages are no longer enough. The future of digital marketing needs to have social media, and the data it generates, at its core.

What will be happening in the next few months? What are the trends that brands need to be aware of? How can we see beyond the complexity of technology and find the opportunity that really exists? You can be sure that any strategy that is not focused on data-utilisation won’t get off the ground. As The New York Times stated in an article titled ‘Marketers celebrate glimmers of recovery’ in 2011: “Data rules… content may be king in media, but, in advertising, it is data.”

While I don’t have a crystal ball, providing commentary on the digital space in publications across the world allows me to take a step back and see how things are evolving. Below is what I see coming.

CONTENT WILL START TO TAKE CENTRE STAGE

Marketing professionals are quickly moving beyond understanding digital and social platforms and are now focusing on how to make their chosen digital communications channels come alive. A recent study by Econsultancy found that only 38% of companies surveyed had a developed content strategy in place, but 90% believed it would come into focus over the next 12 months. In the TV-centric advertising world, the creative firepower of the storyteller for the 30-second spot became the hero. Similarly, the skilful weaver of the digital narrative will be what every brand is looking for.

AGENCIES THAT CAN DEMONSTRATE ROI WILL LEAD THE WAY

The advertising industry is currently going through disruption. One of the major factors driving this change is the huge volumes of unstructured data available. Unlike having a set of predefined fields that fill a database, such as old style CRMs or competition entry forms, unstructured data is conversations, interactions and preferences such as Facebook ‘Likes’ that will be different for each customer.

The forward thinking companies are now firmly focused on generating conversion-focused insights out of unstructured social media data.

BRAND DATA PLATFORMS WILL COME INTO FOCUS

In mid-January, Nike quietly released a framework for developers to connect to its Nike+ platform. For those of you who don’t know, Nike+ lets you put sensors in your shoes and track how you are using your trainers.

In doing this, Nike has managed to build a data platform that extends its connection with its customers for the whole life of the trainers, creating much deeper relationships and new opportunities to sell product. With the release of the new developer framework, Nike is making a transition from active clothing product brand to active technology brand. It wants to effectively own the active lifestyle data space.

COMPANY INTERNAL INVESTMENT WILL INCREASE SIGNIFICANTLY

Not so long ago the terms ‘community manager’ and ‘social data analyst’ didn’t exist. Now every major brand is investing in resources with titles like these. Companies have learned, some the hard way, that community building is not only important, but requires well-developed skills.

BRANDS WILL WORK OUT HOW TO USE FACEBOOK

Most businesses have been lost when it comes to Facebook. There has been a lot of hype, many mistakes and the occasional spectacular success. The lessons from this experimentation have been learned and brands are looking to drive real business results from the communities they have invested in. There is no one ‘Facebook formula’, but there is a right way for each brand.

It is not only the brands who have been learning. Facebook itself has been trying to get its offering to businesses right. This year, we’ll see the social media giant step up its game and offer a range of enterprise- oriented tools and training to help brands realise the potential of the platform.

MARKETERS WILL BEGIN TO THINK ABOUT ‘CLOSING THE LOOP’

It’s interesting to look at the spectrum of data available from a marketing perspective. Facebook knows what people are doing, Google knows what people want, companies like Amazon know what people are buying and brand platforms like Nike+ will make it possible to know how product is used. Pulling all of that information together will be extremely powerful for marketers. Better products and services, combined with more relevant communications, equals happier customers who spend more.

Each of these developments illustrates the importance of making social media marketing techniques more accessible to the business community. It is far too easy to get lost in conversations about the technology in an industry that is moving at breakneck speed.

The technology is important, but it will only ever be a method for delivering a brand story. Storytelling is in our cultural DNA. Great stories capture the imagination and help us relate to the underlying message. For your business, compelling storytelling is essential for one simple reason – people do not really care about brands. It’s easy to forget that the business you live and breathe is not as interesting to your market as it is to you. And real customer loyalty is difficult to maintain. Developing a good story helps to make your brand interesting and attractive. The story about the business’ origins, for example, can help to put a human face on your brand.

Social media gives you the ability to tell stories in a new way. While no technology can help you construct a narrative, knowing how to use each platform correctly helps you be more effective in its telling. Finding out what sort of content your audience will engage with can be tested, and refined, quickly through social media. It’s then a matter of utilising social media data to refine and personalise your story.

There is no magic bullet when it comes to social media ROI. Of course you need to know how to use the tools, but what is more important is how you use them to engage your market. Invest in engaging your audience, and they will return the favour.

 

Nestlé is most socially and environmentally-friendly food corporation: Oxfam

As part of its ‘Behind the Brands’ campaign, charity group Oxfam rated the top ten corporations in the food and beverage market on seven issues.

These included: ensuring the rights of the workers and farmers growing their ingredients, how they protect women’s rights, management of land and water use, climate change, and the transparency of their supply chains, policies and operations.

The Swiss-packaged food group Nestlé registered an overall score of 54%, ahead of Unilever on 49% and Coca-Cola on 41%.

Yet, according to Oxfam’s report sheet, the following companies failed the test: PepsiCo on 31%, Mars on 30%, Danone on 29%, Mondelez on 29%, General Mills on 23%, Kellogg on 23% and Associated British Foods (ABF) on 19%.

“Some companies recognise the business case for sustainability and have made important commitments that deserve praise,” says Jeremy Hobbs, executive director for Oxfam International.

While Nestlé celebrates for now, Hobbs admits that all they still have much to do to overturn “a 100-year legacy of relying on cheap land and labour”, and that all ten corporations needed to do so much more.

Secrets also emerged during the polling with some enterprises reticent to disclose information about their agricultural supply chains, although Nestlé and Unilever were most open about the countries they sourced from.

In another damning finding, Oxfam also noted that not one of the ten companies had adequate policies in place to protect local communities from land and water grabs, in light of them obtaining commodities (palm oil, soy, sugar) which have been linked to land rights violations.

ABF’s Patak and Amoy brands performed worst, mainly for their lack of a public policy on fair business arrangements with suppliers, yet applauded the company’s Twinings tea brand for commitments to a living wage for workers.

“No brand is too big to listen to its customers,” says Hobbs. “If enough people urge the big food companies to do what is right, they have no choice but to listen.”

 

IAB Awards 2012 winner – Fanta Playzone

Winner: Mobile Platform or App

Campaign: Fanta Playzone

Client: Coca-Cola

Agency: Ikon Communications, with Webling, Ogilvy and Naked Communications

It's a winner

Background

Fanta had experienced a decline in the number of teens purchasing the product as its marketing activities had not directly engaged them in recent years. Teens are constantly on the lookout for new and different things to talk about within their social circle and their choice of brand tells their peers a lot about them. A brand that isn’t perceived to do cool things is consequently not top of mind and a decline in the number of teens purchasing their product had occurred. Instead new, innovative and ‘faddy’ drinks had encroached on its market share and Fanta was perceived to have lost relevance and a connection with its target demographic.

Objectives

The brand needed to reconnect with its teenage audience, positioning Fanta as cool, exciting and a brand to be revered among their peer groups. All communication needed to be fun, participatory and interactive, and ultimately drive purchase of Fanta among its core demographic while creating a word of mouth buzz that would elevate both the credibility and desirability of the brand.

Strategy

Ikon Communications’ approach began with the concept that it needed to build relevance for Fanta by creating ‘play’ in teenagers’ lives. Ikon felt that lives began to become that little bit more serious during the teenage years with the introduction of exams, homework and other pressures. It, therefore, sought to give teens something to take them away from the ‘boring and serious’ moments in their day-to-day world and give them the tools for a fun, playful and participatory experience.

Mobile phones are the most ubiquitous channel for teens, with smartphone penetration in this target group increasing month on month. It was therefore the natural channel to use to engage the target audience. The average age for ownership of a first phone is 13 (Mobile Youth Survey 2011) with smartphones accounting for 46% of all phones in Australia and 57% of all new phones sold (Australia’s Smartphone Index 2011). Further, Apple has made the smartphone the must-have accessory for every image-conscious teen, where they are seen as a digital version of who they are, from the apps they have to the games they play. The universal access to a mobile screen and the rise of mobile gaming was therefore a perfect platform for Fanta to deliver a resonant and playful experience to bring back its lapsed teenage audience to its brand.

Augmented reality

Execution

A mobile gaming-based campaign with custom-built games (iPhone and Android) was developed to engage teenagers, with integrated Facebook and outdoor activity, inviting them to play when they were at their most receptive: during their commute or when just hanging around with friends. Three custom-built games were developed using both touch screen and tilt centres, fully leveraging the smartphone’s user interface. The games featured different members of the Fanta ‘crew’ and weekly prizes and a real time leader board were built-in to drive repeat participation. User’s interactions were synced to Facebook, where scores were published on their wall, which helped spread the word about Fanta PlayZone within their network, and provided social amplification of each engagement to help with peer-to-peer word of mouth buzz.

To raise awareness of the app and drive downloads, online display, Facebook, mobile and out-of-home media invited teens to ‘play’ with Fanta. Outdoor media was used in a highly innovative way to deepen engagement and maximise participation. Players could boost their scores by using the app to interact with outdoor media billboards that were situated in the places that teens hang out and seek entertainment in.

Using location-based information within the app, users were able to locate these outdoor panels and using their smartphone cameras could ‘catch the crew’. When caught on camera, the crew member magically jumped out of the billboard and into the user’s phone via augmented reality to provide a ‘power-up’ in their gaming experience. In addition, users had the opportunity to rule their local Fanta ‘zone’ by gaining the highest score in real-world locations with the use of GPS software to score bonus points and earn local kudos.

Todd joined your crew!

Results

Fanta PlayZone was a truly integrated mobile campaign that engaged its target audience by delivering an experience true to Fanta and adding more fun and playfulness to the world of a teenager.

Over 36,000 people downloaded the app, which resulted in over 102,000 visits. To put this into context, at 2.6 minutes per visit, with an average of six visits per user, each user was spending an average of 11 minutes playing and engaging with the brand.

The judges felt the social connectivity, with all mobile interaction feeding into Facebook, encouraged healthy competitiveness and helped extend the engagement the audience had with Fanta. This was proven, with 65% of visitors to the app returning to play.

Most importantly, the campaign had the desired impact on the bottom line with sales of Fanta increasing by 12.3% year on year.

The campaign’s innovation in linking outdoor media with mobile gaming via augmented reality was a world first for Fanta and an element of the creative execution that most impressed the judges. They noted that this smart use of advanced technology maximised the value and impact of the media spend and ensured “all touch points drove interaction and participation” with the campaign.

The ‘slick user-experience’ was also highlighted as a key driver in the campaign’s ability to drive relevance, re-engage lapsed Fanta fans and ultimately encourage a purchase. The bespoke games with their imaginative characters encouraging teens to be ‘more fun, less serious’ and by linking the creative to all other media, consistency and extension of brand messaging was guaranteed.

In summarising the campaign, the panel asserted that it was a clever case study in how mobile is now being used as a tool to both brand build and drive a response. It reveals how a core mobile campaign can be augmented by sophisticated interaction with other media and a great example of an initiative with no static brand messaging thanks to intelligent cross-platform integration.

 

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IAB Awards 2012 winner – Pedigree Adoption Drive

Winner: Brand Loyalty & Retention

Campaign: Pedigree Adoption Drive

Client: Mars Petcare

Agency: Whybin\TBWA\Tequila

 

Background

In keeping with Pedigree’s stated belief that every dog deserves a loving home, it partnered with a not-for-profit organisation PetRescue to try and improve the plight of the 100,000 dogs in shelters across Australia that are euthanised each year because they are unable to find new owners.

The Pedigree Adoption Drive initiative needed a fresh campaign to raise awareness for the plight of these dogs and to try and change the misperception that shelter dogs are damaged in some way. It also needed to address the reality that fewer and fewer people are visiting dog shelters year on year due to geographic and time constraints.

Objectives

The client’s brief was simple. It wanted to reach the widest possible audience in order to first raise awareness of the fact that over 100,000 dogs a year were euthanised, and second to change people’s perceptions of the nature and character of shelter dogs and ultimately to drive and increase the number of adoptions taking place across Australia.

Campaign msite 1

Strategy

The key stumbling block to increasing the number of shelter dog adoptions was the fact that the volume of people visiting shelters was in decline. The agency therefore needed to find a way to bring people face to face with the dogs to see for themselves that they were healthy and to create an immediate bond to encourage adoption.

The first step was to create a unique canine search engine that centralised every single dog in Australia’s 716 shelters into one single database. This provided the technology to help make searching for a dog as simple, accessible and much fun as possible.

A series of online and offline activities were designed to facilitate the matching of dogs and potential owners with a mobile app (for iOS and Android) and Facebook application called Dog-A-Like at its core. The app brought shelter dogs face-to-face with potential owners to enable people to find their perfect match from the newly created PetRescue database.

This was supported by experiential and video activity to help create an emotional bond with the target audience to maximise the chances for adoption.

App iconExecution

The campaign was launched with an experiential ‘Underdog Day’ at Bondi Beach in Sydney where yellow branded dog leads were tied to 1.5 kilometres of the beachfront each with the profile of an available adoptee dog. Through a unique online code attached to the profile, people could enter the code into the PetRescue search engine to find out more and adopt. The widespread publicity created from this event drove the target audience to the online activity at the centre of the campaign. The Dog-A-Like mobile app and Facebook app used facial recognition software to create an instantaneous emotional connection between potential owner and dog. Playing with the popular notion that dogs often look like their owners, it was designed to match the features of people with those of every single available shelter dog in Australia until a perfect match was found. Users were then given the option to adopt a pet when otherwise it would be put down.

Campaign msite 2

The app was loaded with clever touches, such as the built-in ‘whistle’ feature that takes the user straight to the Dog-A-Like’s adoption page when they whistle into the phone, and a ‘shake’ functionality that allowed users to either make a donation or give their perfect match a bowl of Pedigree dog food.

The emotional connection between the dogs and the target audience was also deepened by the creation of an eight-part online documentary, Underdogs, which followed the affecting stories of how five shelter dogs found a new adoptive home. This served to address the perception that shelter dogs were damaged in some way by taking the audience on their journey from being homeless to finding a loving home.

Results

Dog-A-Like became the number one app in the Australian iTunes store for two weeks – and, over a few months of the campaign, more than 3500 dogs were adopted. It became Australia’s most successful rehoming campaign with more than 26 million media impressions. The campaign reached 5.8 million Facebook users and the 200,000 bowls of dog food pledged via Facebook ‘Likes’ ran out in the first month. As a result, it made Facebook’s Top 50 Apps worldwide in 2012.Testing the app with a random Marketing mag editor

Impressively, the Underdogs documentary garnered such an unprecedented online audience that it inspired a national TV series with a second series due to air in 2013. That an element of the creative content of the campaign has taken on a life of its own is an impressive feat and one of the holy grails of a successful marketing campaign. As one judge noted, “The agency clearly tapped into a resonant creative execution, which more than fulfilled the client’s brief to change perceptions.”

Most importantly, a 36 percent increase in the number of dogs re-homed has been achieved since the program was launched, amounting to 2200 dogs each month: Pedigree’s most successful rehoming initiative to date. A key driver of this was the way in which the agency developed an innovative and effective mechanism to bring the shelter dogs to the target audience.

The judges also highlighted the imaginative use of technology to create the unique shelter dog database and facial recognition app noting that the “effective use of back-end technology to create a fun, accessible and entertaining application that built brand affection and loyalty was world-class”.

It's a winner

Watch the first two instalments of the online series below, and visit the campaign’s YouTube channel for more.

 

Social and mobile go for gold at London 2012 Olympic Games

Every four years the biggest consumer brands on the planet invest vast sums of money to connect their brand to the marketing juggernaut that is the Olympic Games. This time there’s no surprise to see brands such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Visa and Procter and Gamble all shelling out billions collectively on sponsorships and ads during the Games. What is different this time around is that a significant part of this spend is being focussed on social and mobile marketing activities.

That’s not to say that TV isn’t playing an important role, but you can see a dynamic shift in the whole raison d’être of a TV ad. No longer about simply building brand recall and awareness, TV ads are beginning to be put to use as teasers or trailers for the main event which is now deep digital experiences and engagement.

‘Move to the Beat’

Take a look at Coca-Cola. They are running their largest digital campaign ever with mobile playing a key role in more than 50 countries around the globe. Their ‘Move to the Beat’ campaign targets teens with a Mark Ronson/Katy B concoction ‘Anywhere in the World’ which will serve as an anthem for Coca-Cola’s Olympic sponsorship efforts.

Online, teens across the world are invited to create individualized beats by mixing their personal musical preference and their sporting interest with their online social media footprint. Once created, the personalised experience can be uploaded to the website to create an evolving music collaboration.

The mobile experience showcase centrepiece is the free My Beatmaker app for smartphones. This app uses technology and lets you create your beat through the motion of your phone. I’m not quite sure how it works but the technology detects the movements of the phone and transforms them into unique sounds. It’s a really innovative idea though I have heard more than one or two grumbles that it doesn’t work quite as well as planned.

There are also SMS alerts about the campaign that include facts about the athletes and artists and Games related quizzes, QR codes, and links within the brand’s desktop and mobile experience for the Olympics.

Visa Go World

Meanwhile, Visa’s campaign for the Games of the XXX Olympiad will be the largest in the company’s 25 years’ association with the Games. For Visa social media is playing a much bigger role than ever before with its cheer platform. The Visa campaign kicked off in May and will run in 70 countries. The idea here is that fans can lead the cheer squad and send best wishes to their favourite Olympians by posting a text messages, comments, photographs and video clips on the Visa Facebook page. Fans can also submit ‘one-click cheers’ online or via mobile on social media including the Visa YouTube channel. Plus there’s @teamvisa on Twitter, using the hashtag #VisaGoWorld for brief messages.

The online cheers, submitted by fans, will be used for at least one congratulatory ad that will run during the Games in July and August.

Visa and Samsung pair up

In terms of being a truly mobile Games, Visa and Samsung are pairing up in their quest for team gold. While Samsung’s new Galaxy S III has been anointed as the official London 2012 Olympic Games smartphone, they’ve joined forces with Visa to bundle their payWave Android application in partnership with Lloyds TSB to offer near-field communication (NFC) payments to athletes while they are competing in the city. While the contactless payment mechanism won’t be universally acceptable, there’ll be approximately 140,000 contactless terminals in the UK for this Olympic trial, so there will be enough retailers and service providers set up in the city to accept the mobile payments to make a great test case. Payments under £20 (approximately AUS$32) won’t need a passcode, and users will also be able to check their balance and purchase history from the app. While NFC mobile payments have been popular for years in places such as Japan and South Korea, the technology has been slower to take off in the US and Europe, so the whole aim of this test is, of course, to drive awareness of and demand for contactless payments in both the UK and the world stage.

Let the Games begin

While more than four billion people are expected to watch the 2012 Olympic Games in London, athletes and fans will use social media to post, blog and tweet their experiences like never before. More data, more coverage and more devices mean those attending in person will have access a whole new experience and one that’s readily available to share with those who can’t be there to see the live action.

 

Finding location, losing privacy

The latest, growing social media trend is location based services like FourSquare, but are consumers ready for the privacy issues that location data  brings?

The Apple iPhone is one of the leading smartphone platforms, but has the recent iOS4 Software update enabling iAd gone too far? It seems Apple has created a catch 22 situation: users can opt out of being served targeted ads by visiting oo.apple.com, but then miss out on many iPhone benefits.

If you don’t want to share your exact location details with Apple then you may not have access to future apps from iTunes. So as a consumer you have to decide to provide Apple with your real-time geographic locations or not have access to its iPhone applications.

Apple highlights that your detailed user location information is only available to all its partners and licensees… which only appears to leave out those not using its platform? This change is a move designed to protect iAd advertisers and potentially iPhone app developers, but at what cost to privacy?

Apple’s changes to its user agreement seems similar to Facebook’s recent privacy changes, which gave great benefit to advertisers but not users. The Facebook change to ‘Like’ pages combined with the recent Wikipedia-style pages made the users profile data more easily targeted by advertisers.

Not wanting to be left out of the location game, Facebook appears to be on the verge of launching its own location-based features, but will privacy be again compromised by forced opt-in? The Facebook feature is likely to be similar to the recent Twitter Places update where users can opt to tag the tweet with their current location.

The new Twitter update allows users to “Add your location” with every individual tweet, but was already available by external platforms such as UberTwitter.

The interesting aspect for advertisers using FourSquare as a platform is they can begin to better target those who are visiting their venues or in the nearby area. The benefit is that a local Las Vegas tour company can now target those who are just visiting Las Vegas and not waste marketing dollars on local residents by offering them visitor promotions*.

But on a different campaign Hard Rock Casino, Las Vegas can provide a special birthday offer for Las Vegas residents who have checked in with FourSquare at nearby venues. The potential benefit of geo-targeting is a more relevant audience with localised ads allows advertisers to deliver better ROI on their local marketing campaigns.

The potential concern for consumers sharing so much information is that companies like Apple and Google may not be able to quell privacy fears about their behaviour data gathered on iPhone and Android. For marketers will applications like FourSquare increase their importance for local marketing while still enabling enough granular settings to protect the user privacy?

*Disclaimer: The Lost Agency is working with this client.

Facebooks ups user safety in the UK

Due to rising concerns regarding user safety in the UK, Facebook has agreed to offer eight children protection bodies up to one billion free ad slots on its site.

In addition to the ad spots, the social networker is allowing users to report potential criminal activity directly to police. It has also promised to staff a 24-hour hotline which police can contact for emergencies and investigations.

However, Facebook has stopped short of having a ‘panic button’ prominent on other user pages, saying it would initially display a button in its Safety and Help centres and during the ‘report user’ process.

“The investments and partnerships we’ve announced today…
represent the most comprehensive public/private safety initiative since social
networking began in the UK almost a decade ago,” Elliot Schrage,
vice-president of global communications and public policy at Facebook, told Brand Republic.

Facebook has yet to indicate if the concessions would be made on its international websites.

Twitter great buzz for tech brands

An online branding report has found that not only is Twitter increasing in popularity, but that tech brands are benefiting most when it comes to being mentioned on the platform.

The report also found that mid-week is the most popular time for Australians to mention tech brands through social media, with Twitter peaking mid-week with on average 500 to 1,000 more posts per day than the average.

The ‘Digital Brand Index (DBI 2.0)’ is conducted by PR firm Edelman in partnership with Brandtology.

Twitter continues to grow in popularity with 57% of online mentions occurring on the tool (123,696 mentions); nearly double the total number of brand mentions of all the other top 10 channels added together.

Despite significant product releases from Microsoft (18,897) with Windows 7 and Windows Mobile 6.5, Google (29,941) continues to dominate in terms of online mentions, with 20,528 of those mentions being made by ‘netizens’ through Twitter.

“With more and more Australians ‘tweeting’ every day, there is a real opportunity for technology brands in Australia to raise awareness and understanding, and to engage with potential and existing customers,” said Amanda Little, managing director, Edelman Australia.

Social not-working, surely not?

Social networking is a just a phase – the headline jumped out at me, the shock, the horror, surely not? I had just read this quickly on a newswire while my computer was supposed to be absolutely turned off/dead over Christmas and New Year.

It got me thinking, is it a phase? Social networking is a long-known art, as social networking was going on long before a computer even existed. So will our entire social media careers be dead now? Just down to a fad, a phase, a thing we liked at the time?

So I considered some of the issues that we may be facing with this new found channel.

Issue one: Its all about money: isn’t it always? Social networking, it seems, is difficult to monetise. Google has begun to make less than optimistic noises about it. Google CFO George Reyes has said: We have found that social-networking inventory is not monetising as well as expected”. Is this plain speaking for oh shit?

Issue two: Are there too many players flooding the market? Particularly white labelled channels (i.e. a site full of pre-made functions, which can be branded so that people can create their own versions of Facebook for instance). The more this happens, the more dispersed and fractured the user base becomes. 

Issue three: Corporate intervention in social media, with over commercialisation with what started out as a one to many tool, soon becomes a corporation to consumer tool and all the people get fed up with being sold to and may go somewhere else.

Issue four: Inaccurate member data on sites. This is less important to socialisation so users don’t care. With identity fraud, users purposely load inaccurate data. From a commercial perspective, this can create problems: CRM is only as good as the data validity. All that effort aimed at the wrong people. Some say as many as 33% of users load duff info into their profile.

Data privacy has the potential to unravel the network. You may think that this couldt happen, what with all the regulatory concern and cautionary tales. But then again, Facebook had already been caught tracking and releasing user habits back to developers and others involved in advertising initiatives. And what if your average Joe wants to leave? Well have you noticed that no matter how often you opt-out or don’t opt-in, the level of spam keeps going up? You have to think that the data options are being somehow abused. Surely not? Well think again, it’s a bit like a religious cult. Once you’re in, they don’t let you leave. These are the very things that may eventually dissuaded users from enjoying social media sites and lead to their abandonment followed by collapse of the network platforms.

Issue five: Social network fatigue, with people getting fed up with maintaining multiple spaces on multiple platforms. Its further manifested itself with people just falling out of love with the whole thing because it just isnt’t what it used to be. It might not sound like we have that problem at the moment, but on closer inspection, there are people writing PhD theses about it. After this peak, will we see a decline? Perhaps because of the tedium of the operation, or something else happens, it stops being the next best thing

 So how do we make sure this doesn’t happen.

We keep it all together, increased the marketing value to business, re-enfranchise the users and make some dollars on the way.

In the spirit of Rohit Bhargava with his SMO (Social Media Optimisation) rules, and in light of the above issues, here are some of the SMM (Social Media Marketing) rules or maybe New Marketing Rules – NMR – a new acronym!  How exciting!

  1. Our Grandfathers and Great Grandfathers knew the social before we did – don’t forget what they told you about honest communication, it still works today online or offline.
  2. Social media is social – the best who know social, know how it works. Listen, say less, and use two ears and one mouth, in that proportion!
  3. Emotion stirs us all up – a relevant message to the right audience in the right place works; we want to hear, what we want to hear, when we want to hear it  – don’t bug us otherwise.
  4. Its not always about money and conversion and transaction – it is about relationships. Think of the value return of the relationship, as opposed to quick wins and quick bucks.
  5. Social media marketing is about listening. Do your research before jumping in.
  6. It is about you as an individual and your personal brand as much as your brand’s personality,

Please continue the list on in the comment box below. There are many more thing at the heart of this!